Komodo Island, Indonesia is perhaps best known for its flagship animal, the unique Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis). The island also contains a wealth of coastal and marine biodiversity. Komodo National Park (KNP) was established in 1980 and now encompasses 1,214 square kilometers of highly diverse marine habitats, including coral reefs, mangroves, sea grass beds, seamounts, and semi-enclosed bays. These habitats harbor more than 1,000 species of fish, 260 species of reef-building coral, and 70 species of sponges. Large fauna in the park include dolphins, whales, green turtles, and, occasionally, dugong. More than 20,000 people live in and around the park, mostly deriving their income from squid and other small fisheries.
Destructive fishing practices severely threaten the park’s bottom-dwelling resources. In 1995, surveys showed that up to 50 percent of the reefs had been damaged. Local and immigrant fishermen have also exploited grouper, wrasse, shark, lobster, and shellfish fisheries far beyond sustainable levels.
In 1996, The Nature Conservancy established a field office in the Komodo area to implement a coastal and marine conservation program in partnership with the Indonesian park authorities. This multifaceted conservation program includes enforcement, alternative livelihood development, community awareness and constituency building, monitoring and research, and the development of a Park financing mechanism through the creation of an eco-tourism enterprise. Implementation of a weekly marine patrol program resulted in an 80 percent decrease in the incidence of blast fishing. Results from the coral reef monitoring program indicate that reefs are indeed recovering from blast fishing damage. Surveys show an annual increase in live coral cover of up to 6 percent per year in the most heavily damaged reefs. Improvement is likely to continue. The Indonesian Government recently endorsed the 25-Year Management Plan for Komodo National Park, an important milestone for the conservation partnership between The Nature Conservancy and the Indonesian Park Authority, the Directorate-General for Nature Conservation and Protection.
Pet, J.S. and Yeager, C. (eds.), 2000. 25 year master plan for management, Komodo National Park, Book 1, Management Plan. Jarkarta, Indonesia: Ministry of Forestry, Department of Nature Protection and Conservation.
Pet, J.S. and Yeager, C. (eds.), 2000. 25 year master plan for management, Komodo National Park, Book 2, Data and Analysis. Jakarta, Indonesia: Ministry of Forestry, Department of Nature Protection and Conservation.
Pet, J.S. and & Yeager, C. (eds.), 2000. 25 year master plan for management, Komodo National Park, Book 3, Site Planning. Jakarta, Indonesia: Ministry of Forestry, Department of Nature Protection and Conservation.