Survey of Banggai Cardinalfish populations and their microhabitats

Since 2007, LINI has been monitoring the distribution and population density of Banggai Cardinalfish (BCF) populations in the Banggai Archipelago. The survey was initiated because of our concerns about the declining numbers of BCF in the environment, which has led to this species being listed as Endangered in the IUCN Red List. The BCF population data over a five-year period (2007 – 2012) were published in a paper “Summary of results of population density surveys of Banggai cardinalfish in the Banggai Archipelago, Sulawesi, Indonesia”.

In 2017, in collaboration with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia – LIPI) and the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), LINI conducted BCF population surveys at 16 sites in the Banggai Archipelago. The purpose of the surveys was to establish a baseline from which the impact of the BCF conservation and management could be evaluated.  Since then, the monitoring has continued to be conducted annually. 

The third round of surveys was held in October 2019, and the results are currently being analysed. The monitoring involved the community groups of Bone Baru, Yayasan KALI and BCF Lestari, who received training in survey methodology. The training was done annually prior to monitoring.  The three community group leaders- Saleh, Sain and Abdul, have been part of the annual monitoring efforts since 2017. It is our intention that the community groups will be able to conduct the monitoring of the BCF on their own in the future. Hopefully, in the future, more and more people from Bone Baru and neighbouring villages will join us in the survey and monitoring activities. The growth of community involvement is essential for the sustainability of LINI’s program. In the long run, we hope that the communities can take the lead in marine conservation and management efforts in their own areas. In this year’s survey, the supporting monitoring team includes Parisa, our intern from the University of Halu Oleo, Kendari, and Dawam from Muhammadiyah Luwuk University.

The 2019 surveyors: (left to right) Khalis (LINI), Eveline (LINI), Dawam (Luwuk), Surya (LINI), Sain (BCF Lestari), Saleh (KALI), Abdul (KALI) and Parisa (Kendari) (photo: @Neni)

By Eveline Kurniati and Gayatri Reksodihardjo-Lilley