Sharks for the Future
Raja Ampat, Indonesia
The development of an anti-shark finning campaign to build community awareness and deepen government engagement; increase conservation knowledge of local teachers to bring shark protection issues into village classrooms; and guide the implementation of locally-driven projects to reduce immediate threats to sharks through microgrant projects.
Why this is important:
Indonesia’s remote Raja Ampat Archipelago is arguably the epicenter of coral reef biodiversity, boasting the world’s richest variety of coral species. While its remoteness protects it from tourism overuse, mass pollution, and unsustainable coastal development, it also makes it susceptible to the unmonitored extraction of its riches.
Since 2006, the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) and local recreational diving partners have noted a continual reduction in shark sightings in the Raja Ampat region. In late 2009, CORAL staff encountered finned baby sharks outside the existing locally-managed marine area (LMMA), indicating a high probability of overfishing. With CORAL’s support, local partners took the necessary steps to expand the LMMA and created the current shark sanctuary in Raja Ampat.
In order to ensure the shark sanctuary’s success, there must be community buy-in and involvement. CORAL’s acclaimed and scientifically validated Coral Reef Sustainable Destination (CRSD) approach is specifically designed to advance community involvement. The CRSD model empowers communities to advance their conservation capacity by: (1) increasing sustainable business practices; (2) building conservation alliances; (3) securing sustainable financing; (4) reducing local threats to the reefs; (5) establishing effective marine protected area management; and (6) ensuring shared benefits with local communities. With a model that strongly stresses collaborative management and benefit-sharing for local communities, CORAL is in a strong position to help villages and stakeholders understand the importance of reef and shark conservation measures and identify the community’s role in supporting these new practices.
To that end, the participatory activities in this project are designed to create a deeper community connection to shark conservation efforts that will be essential to the long-term success of the campaign. By incorporating a writing and drawing competition about sharks along with increased teacher training in marine ecology, we are including the community in the education, process, and ownership of shark conservation efforts. Microgrants will then give community groups and individuals the capacity to implement projects that build on and extend this increased engagement.
Aims and Objectives
General Aim: To establish effective protection of sharks by engaging the local community to support recent shark legislation. Sharks need more than just protection on paper, they need active community engagement.
This project will address this issue by:
1. Developing anti-shark finning outreach materials/event opportunities
a. Educational video and writing/drawing competitions to raise awareness
b. Government engagement to strengthen legislation
2. Increasing capacity for educational awareness
a. Teachers to be trained in shark and coral reef conservation issues in order to incorporate information into classroom lessons
3. Implementing locally-driven projects
a. Microgrants will empower the community to respond to threats
Two of the winners of CORAL’s 2012-2013 writing contest for high school school students in Raja Ampat—Errens Umpes and Ibrahim Yanto Mambrisauw—shared their knowledge about sharks on the Radio Republic of Indonesia (RRI) in April. The show will air again…
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