Fishing communities in Karimunjawa National Park -- a marine reserve with mangrove-ringed islands in the Java Sea just south of Borneo -- are providing a model of resource management for the country, a release by the Wildlife Conservation Society reported Friday.
The Indonesian government has made the development possible by increasing community participation in park governance and providing economic incentives, such as the development of ecotourism and business enterprises, to reduce fishing pressures, the WCS said.
Karimunjawa National Park -- covering 425 square miles of ocean surrounding a total of 27 islands with a population of 9,000 people -- was among the first in Indonesia to be recognized as critical for the conservation of the region's marine biodiversity. A 2006 study by WCS and others found the park's natural resources under threat from overfishing, with coral reefs and fish biomass in poor condition.
The government and local communities have worked together to improve the situation, the WCS said.
"Community involvement in the management of fisheries in Karimunjawa has had a significant impact on improving the sustainability of these resources," WCS scientist Stuart Campbell said. "One outcome has been the stabilization of reef fish biomass in some areas since the zoning regulations have taken effect.
"Another important outcome has been the improved socioeconomics and political power of participant communities, the key to any successful endeavor in sustainable development."