Complementing the ongoing MPA work in the Aceh-Weh Seascape by reducing the impacts of unsustainable fishing practices on coral reef fishes, sharks, and rays and increasing the resilience of marine habitats in the 250 square kilometer seascape.
Why this is important:
The area boasts critical habitats and populations of large coral reef fishes, sharks, and rays. However, many of these species are increasingly threatened by unsustainable and destructive fishing practices and global climate change.
The islands and coral reefs of the Aceh-Weh Seascape in northern Sumatra, Indonesia contain a diverse and unique assemblage of tropical marine fauna and are home to human communities with traditional customs and laws to control fishing activities. Since the tsunami of December 2004, local fishing communities have recovered and threats to coral reefs from destructive fishing activities have greatly declined. Nonetheless, the area’s regionally significant populations of coral reef fishes, sharks, and rays are critically threatened by overfishing and unsustainable fishing practices, such as shark finning. Coral reef fishes and sharks are caught by nets that can damage both shallow reefs and the deep reefs used by sharks for nursery habitat. In addition, sharks are targeted solely for their fins, with large shark fins attracting market prices of US$70 apiece.
Since 2006, WCS has been successfully providing community groups and governments within the Aceh-Weh Seascape with training in fisheries management, as well as MPA design and implementation. These local organisations have been instrumental in the development of the first community-supported MPA on the east coast of Weh Island. Local and district governments, communities, and traditional fisher institutions have shown strong support for expanding the MPA network and associated fishery controls as conservation measures to reduce conflict among fishing communities and to reduce pressure on fish populations. This project will complement our work to develop the MPA network by building a local constituency for sustainable fishing practices and identifying alternative options to shark finning and other destructive fishing practices.
Aims and Objectives
This project will reduce unsustainable fishing practices, including shark finning and blast fishing in the Aceh-Weh Seascape of northern Sumatra, Indonesia. Specifically, we will:
- Incorporate traditional ecological knowledge and scientific information on ecology and human use of coral reefs and adjacent waters into management plans and regulations.
- Build capacity and commitment of resource managers, government, community institutions and villages through training and technical support.
- Raise awareness about importance of sustainable fishing practices through communication and outreach program targeted at schools, communities, businesses, and governments.
- Identify appropriate sustainable fishing management options and alternative livelihood opportunities.
The marine waters surrounding Weh Island support large shark fishing grounds in Aceh Province, Indonesia. Often the grounds are fished by local or outside fishers. There are no regulations on shark fisheries in these waters and awareness of the need…
To facilitate our training and outreach programs in our shark conservation management project in Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia we recently helped produce an educational video on shark fisheries for viewing by local governments, community institutions and schools. The video encourages people…
In our last blog we told the story of a shark fisher, Muhajir who lives at the southern end of Breuh Island, at Gugop Village, where around 65% of inhabitants were killed during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The 12…
It is not quite 10 am, and on a typical fishing day, Muhajir and his crew prepare to go out sea to check if there are sharks caught on their longlines, deployed the previous afternoon. Today, they are quite lucky…
The uncontrolled shark, ray, and other fisheries surrounding the Aceh Islands, in Sumatra, Indonesia pose a challenge to resource users and managers, as stocks are likely to be declining. In this blog we reveal the first baseline data set about…