On 11th February 2020, we gathered stakeholders in Pramuka Island to better understand why coral reefs in Thousand Island have been declining in quality and quantity in recent years. Through the discussion, we identified seven key reasons for the decline.
- High competition among tour operators leads to damaged corals, due to a disregard for the carrying capacity of tourism.
- Land reclamation and landfill – the process of creating new land from oceans – is increasing water sedimentation and harms the coral polyps.
- There is significant coral mortality as a result of breakwaters being constructed in coral reef areas.
- Unsustainable tourism is taking place, due to a lack of proper education on the benefit of coral reefs amongst the community.
- Customary laws that used to help protect the reefs are no longer being enforced due to the influx and adoption of modern cultural norms.
- The breakwater construction does not consider environmental aspects. Breakwater are often built above coral reef systems, which destroy them. I am deeply saddened by this fact – especially knowing coral reefs take a long time to grow.
After discussing the above problems with stakeholders, we concluded that it is very important to collaborate with local governments and be involved in their fora, especially in decision-making processes. We also observed that when carrying out education programs, it is critical to choose the beneficiaries or audience wisely, to ensure the programs’ effectiveness. For example, educating people involved in the tourism sector is particularly impactful, because they interact directly with the coral ecosystems. Furthermore, it is also crucial to regularly collect data on coral coverage, in order to provide more information to local governments and highlight the urgency of protecting coral reefs.
By gathering stakeholders at all levels, I believe we will make an impact on restoring the coral reef ecosystem in Thousand Island. Save the reefs – they’re the only ones we’ve got!
Save The Reefs, They’re The Only Ones We Got!