Karimunjawa Coral Reef Project

Indonesian coral reefs lie at the centre of coral reef global biodiversity, yet remain threatened by a range of poor management practices including unregulated and illegal fishing activities. In assisting the Indonesian government and local communities to protect its marine ecosystems WCS provides the key socioeconomic and ecosystem information necessary to re-design marine resource regulations. 

Karimunjawa National Park, replete with more than 500 species of reef fish and 300 species of corals is one of seven marine national parks in Indonesia. Covering 111,625 hectares and positioned 120 km north of Semarang, central Java, Karimunjawa NP is made up of 25 individual islands (five of which are inhabited) with 8,000 people living in three communities. 

The primary conservation goal of this project is to improve the effectiveness of management in Karimunjawa National Park through implementation of the zoning and management plan aimed to improve the condition of coral reef resources. The recent re-zoning of the boundaries within Karimunjawa National Park is the first such development for Indonesian Marine National Parks. 

The new zoning plan was legislated in June 2005 and provides a model for marine protected area management that will be adopted by other MPAs in Indonesia. The new management approach for Indonesia incorporates a combination of no-take reserves, gear restricted areas and occasional harvest areas. We have initiated community fish management projects where communities have halted fishing within designated marine reserves and developed alternative methods of fishing. A major focus is to work with communities to help them comply with new regulations and closely monitor improvements in the marine ecosystem. 

Karimunjawa National Park is test-case for Indonesian marine conservation management and is being used by the national government to develop and implement more effective management systems, that rely more heavily on a bottom-up rather than top-down approaches. At the invitation of government and non-government agencies WCS is undertaking baseline surveys of coral reefs at other selected sites in Indonesia where MPA planning processes are in place. 

Important Next Steps

  • Develop an integrated management approach with stakeholders; 
  • Conduct monitoring of marine resources to evaluate management regulations; 
  • Improve community awareness and compliance with zoning regulations; 
  • Develop community based projects in villages that complement key conservation objectives.