Survey of Banggai Cardinalfish populations and their microhabitats

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)
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.