*Photo: Wilda Sulistyaningrum maps no-take zones with local fishermen.
In 2010, collaborating with local and international partners, Rare launched its most ambitious project ever: reducing overfishing at 22 sites in the Coral Triangle. Overfishing in the Coral Triangle threatens not only the richest concentration of marine biodiversity in the world but also the livelihoods and food source of more than 120 million people.
On June 17, 2011, the heads of villages, government officials, community members as well as staff from Rare and CI gathered for a traditional ceremony, an Adat, to formally declare the no-take zones that were proposed to help improve the prospects for coastal fisheries in the Coral Triangle.
Only one year later, the success of these no-take zones has transformed and inspired pride in these coastal Indonesian communities. Rare Conservation Fellow Wilda Sulistyaningrum, who works with the Triton Bay communities, initially aimed for a 20 percent reduction of fishers entering the no-take zones. In Kamaka, surveys already show a 33 percent decline. At a recent meeting, community members asked Sulistyaningrum about building a patrol post on a central island to guard the no-take zones. She explained that funds were limited, but the community told her they would provide the materials and funds, if she would lend her technical support.
"I tell them they are the role model for other communities who now also want to set up no-take zones. The people are really proud of what they have done" says Sulistyaningrum. She wants them to continue living according to local traditions and feed themselves from the sea.
All the hard work seems to be paying off. Early indications at one site show a five-fold increase in the snapper population. Recently, an elderly fisher approached Sulistyaningrum and excitedly told her, "Ma'am, last week we had lots of fish near the village. That hasn't happened in a long time."
Rare Fact: The larger a fish is allowed to grow, the more eggs it is able to produce. For example, one snapper weighing 11kg produces the same number of eggs as 250 snappers weighing 1.1 Kg each!
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