By: Irfan Yulianto
Rallying the support of religious and village community groups, and leveraging the ubiquity of mobile phones, WCS and the Karimunjawa National Park Authority have launched a campaign to reduce fishing pressure on 3 species of grouper: Plectropomus areolatus, Ephinephelus fuscoguttatus and Epinephelus polyphekadion.
Unusually, rather than raise the alarm, the call to action seeks to cement a success and make it sustainable. During 2006-2009 the grouper fishery became highly exploited in the park, with the local waters unable to provide a monthly demand of 3000 kg of grouper, due to dwindling stocks.
Tellingly, WCS surveys found a 30% decline in the abundance of all grouper species during that period. With new regulations on gears and species in place thanks to community and government support, and the allocation of the grouper fishery to local artisanal fishers, the abundance and biomass of grouper made a comeback by 2012.
The new campaign sets out to ensure this recovery is maintained by highlighting a range of new measures including fish size limits, No Take Areas and gear restrictions. Using approaches we learned by working previously with the organization RARE, the campaign will be launched among local social forums and conduct large scale community events with religious and village groups, and deliver key messages through public areas and SMS ‘blasts’.