In September, Peter and Nils along with WWF Indonesia hosted a hands-on workshop in Bali for practitioners, NGOs and government agencies to support improved Marine Protected Area (MPA) design for fisheries.
Thirty-five participants from relevant divisions of the Ministry of Marine Affair and Fisheries, along with regional representatives from WWF, the Coral Triangle Initiative, The Nature Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society, Conservation International, Reef Check and the Indonesian Coral Reef Foundation had the opportunity to learn about the roles of basic and advanced MPA design. The Indonesian government has very recently established marine spatial planning learning centres within regional universities across the country and we were able to have participation from as far afield as North Maluku and Southeast Sulawesi.
Discussions focused on the benefits of effective MPAs, reef vulnerability, coral reef connectivity, as well as the overall coverage, size and placement of strict no-take, fishery reserves. Participants also had the opportunity to use newly available tools in order to design MPAs using their own computers.
There has been a shift in the impetus for setting MPAs. In the past, MPAs were created to protect biodiversity. Now the focus is shifting to looking at designating areas based on building fisheries. Historically the way MPA design typically was undertaken avoided putting reserves in places were fishing occurred. Now it is a different approach to actively benefitting fisheries by identifying upstream areas of fishing grounds to replenish fish populations. As the criteria for fisheries are different than for biodiversity, this workshop was a great opportunity to share the most recent research into MPA design for fisheries.
We had a very fun and productive time working with our collaborators Estradivari, Christian Handayani, Dirga Daniel at WWF Indonesia. This engaging and interactive training workshop enabled us not only to share the new scientific findings, ideas and tools around MPA designs but also provided an opportunity for the participants from diverse areas around Indonesia to share their experiences and knowledge of the systems and practicalities of MPA design. It was fantastic to see local NGOs taking our new connectivity optimization tool created by Nils and already applying it to advice on MPA design questions in the Sunda Banda.