Conservation efforts for the Banggai Cardinalfish in Banggai Island

Conservation efforts for the Banggai Cardinalfish in Banggai Island

Yayasan LINI and Yayasan KALI (Khatulistiwa Alam Lestari) conducted surveys of the Banggai Cardinalfish as an effort to monitor the populations of this endangered species in Banggai Laut District, Central Sulawesi. This activity has been conducted annually since 2014 with the purpose of supporting the conservation and management of the Banggai Cardinalfish populations within the area of their natural distribution from year to year.

The Banggai Cardinalfish (Pterapogon kauderni) is a species of reef fish endemic to the Banggai Archipelago in Northeast Sulawesi, Indonesia, and has a very limited geographical range. It is a popular marine aquarium fish that has been exploited for overseas markets since the mid-1990s.

The survey was conducted in early May 2017 at 11 different locations around Banggai Island: Popisi, Asasal, Bone Baru, Bongo, Kapela, Tolokibit, Monsongan, Tinakin Laut,  Areas around Peleng Island (Liang village, Paisuluno, and Lumbia-Lumbia) were also surveyed. The results showed that Popisi had the highest numbers of Banggai Cardinalfish, with 1910 individuals in 1500 square meters, while the lowest population density was found in Tolokibit, with around 108 individuals in 1500 square meters

The results of the survey were presented at the stakeholders’ meeting held in Banggai town in May 2017. The local stakeholders, which included local Government and community, appreciated the monitoring program and they have high hopes that this endemic fish will not become extinct. The purpose of the stakeholders meeting was to discuss the plan to include the species in the protected species list under National law, and several options for management measures of the Banggai Cardinalfish. These include closed seasons for fishing, the establishment of conservation areas, a quota which limits the harvested volumes of fish, and allowable size. Further discussions are planned to be held before the end of 2017.

“The survey and monitoring activities need to be done continuously in order to track the condition of the populations of this endemic fish so that, if necessary, rapid actions can be taken to save the fish from extinction.” said Surya Risuana, one of the  LINI field staff.

Furthermore, LINI plans to conduct aquaculture activities for breeding Banggai Cardinalfish along with regional Government of Banggai Laut in Banggai Island, to reduce further declines in the fish populations throughout their natural distribution.

Tracking the fishing activities of octopus fishers in Banggai Laut

Tracking the fishing activities of octopus fishers in Banggai Laut

On 28 April, nine Vessel Tracking Systems (VTS), provided by Pelagic Data Systems, were installed in nine dugout canoes belonging to octopus fishers from Popisi Village in North Banggai, Central Sulawesi. These solar powered devices automatically record the boats’  position every few seconds, and the data can be uploaded via the cellular phone netowrk. Surya Risuana, one of the LINI field staff, explained to the octopus fishers the purpose of the devices, and helped them to install the devices in their small dugouts. Octopus fishers fish in the coral reefs following the reef slopes, from early morning to midday.  With these devices, the project will have the opportunity to better understand the fishing patterns in the fishing grounds of the octopus fishers of Popisi village, and can be used as the basis for the development of  better fisheries management plans in the area.

Installing a VTS device in one of the dugout canoes
Octopus fishers and their VTS devices
Banggai Laut

Banggai Laut

The Banggai Laut District has a total area of 12,882.45 km2, with almost 95% of marine areas (12,156.78 Km²). There are 290 islands, with only 44 islands are inhabitants. and 63 villages. The estimated population of 69,514 in 2015. The Banggai Laut lies within a vast area of global marine biodiversity popularly known as the Coral Triangle. Important coastal marine ecosystems in Banggai include coral reefs, mangroves and seagrass beds.

Since 2010, LINI has been involved in marine conservation in the Banggai Laut conducting coral reef surveys, population monitoring of the Banggai cardinalfish, developing ‘no-take’ areas for the protection of the BCF, providing training for fishers and local government. The Banggai cardinalfish, the endemic reef fish to the Banggai Archipelago is a popular marine aquarium fish since mid 90s. The species has been succesfully captive bred in Indonesia. IUCN listed the species as an endangered species in 2007, and it was proposed to Appendix II CITES in 2007, and again in 2016. The fish is on its way to be protected under the Indonesian law.

Monitoring of the Banggai Cardinalfish population in Banggai

Monitoring of the Banggai Cardinalfish population in Banggai

In August 2016 LINI team conducted a population survey of the Banggai Cardinalfish in seven sites in Banggai Island. The sites were Bongo, Kapela, Tolokibit, Monsongan, Tinakin Laut, Popisi, and Bone Baru. The survey aimed to monitor the distribution and population density of BCF that were conducted by LINI since 2007. Continue reading