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Indonesia

Komodo Island National Park

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Conservation and community benefit: Alternative fishing opportunities for local fishers

Date Approved: 12.2000

Komodo National Park includes 510 square miles of some of the most biologically diverse waters, reefs, mangroves, and bays in the world. It provides habitat for more than 1,000 species of fish, approximately 260 species of reef-building coral, 70 species of sponge, and the endangered hawksbill and green sea turtles. But destructive fishing practices, dynamite and cyanide fishing, are severely damaging the reef fish populations and the reef itself.

This project provides an incentive for the fishing community to fish the open ocean, away from the threatened coral reefs. Fish aggregating devices have been placed in the 5,000-foot deep waters outside the boundary of the national park. These devices attract pelagic fish such as yellowfin tuna, skipjack tuna, and Spanish mackerel, which migrate through the Indo-Pacific. This lets the local fishers continue earning a living from fishing without destroying the coral reefs.

Seacology funds are supporting the Nature Conservancy, which is training fishers from two Komodo Island communities in the skills needed to fish in deep water. The community is also using funds to equip and refit boats with equipment appropriate for this type of fishing.

Project Updates

June 2008

Between 2004 and 2006, fisherman from Seraya Island personally financed FADs to catch tuna. In 2007 a fish cold storage business was set up, installing five FAD units at approximately 1,250 meters in depth. While those FADs were lost in storms during the wet season, three replacement FADS were installed at approximately 600 meters in depth off the northern end of Seraya Island. Fishers routinely fish on these FADs and sell the fish back to the cold storage business. With the continued availability of FAD fishing and successful marketing, village coral reef fishing has been eliminated.

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July 2004

The fish aggregating device is in place and is being used by fishermen as an alternative to blast fishing on the coral reefs. The project has encouraged the development of a local fishery for pelagic fish. More fishers have now adopted the design of the original FADs and are deploying and maintaining FADs independently. A nearby village business recently built a cold storage house where fishers can sell their catch. A Seacology delegation visited (and dived) the site in October 2002 and also visited the nearby fishing village.

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