The ecological state and fishing practices of coral reefs in South Buton

Usobiaga Fabian, Alejandro (2017) The ecological state and fishing practices of coral reefs in South Buton. Masters (Research) thesis, James Cook University.

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The Coral Triangle in South East Asia hosts coral reef ecosystems capable of supporting and securing the livelihoods of millions of people due to its high biological productivity and diversity. However, for many areas such as those found in South East Sulawesi, Indonesia, there is a dearth of socio-ecological information concerning reef condition and associated fishing practices. Coral reefs are currently under threat from anthropogenic and natural stressors, therefore it is vital to provide reef managers with reference point socioecological data to aid them in designing and implementing strategic reef management plans. Four standard ecological indices – benthic composition, fish biomass, invertebrate abundance, and reef structural complexity – were used to explore reef conditions in the southern point of Buton Island, Indonesia, using diver-operated stereo video systems. Fishing practices in the region were evaluated with 15 minute face-to-face surveys with fishers. Overall, the coral reefs in South Buton were found to be in relatively 'good' ecological condition (using coral cover as the primary indices where 51-75% as defined by Suharsono (1998) for Indonesian coral reefs), with one reef (Pulau Ular) exemplary in coral cover. In contrast, there were reefs (namely Nirwana) showing signs of substantial degradation with rubble and sand dominated habitats that hosted very few fish and invertebrates of importance to fishers. Furthermore, coral reefs in South Buton compared favorably to those in the neighboring region at Wakatobi National Park, where longer term management actions have ensured habitat protection, as well as food and livelihood security.

The fishing practices of South Buton communities were characterized by fishing focused on off shore pelagic fish rather than on reef associated species. Maintaining high diversity and abundance on South Buton reefs may therefore not require substantial interference with current fishing practices. In particular, my conclusions suggest that it is not necessary to designate the entire study area as a no-take marine park zone. For future reef management plans in the South Buton region, the work herein illustrates the benefits of evaluating local community perceptions and needs early in the management-planning phase. Importantly, this thesis provides a reference point of socio-ecological data from which a fixed long-term monitoring program of reef health can build upon, and which should underpin any successful management actions.

Item ID: 64401
Item Type: Thesis (Masters (Research))
Keywords: fishing, coral reef ecology, reef management, Indonesia, habitat protection
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2017 Alejandro Usobiaga Fabian.
Date Deposited: 22 Sep 2020 02:37
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960507 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Marine Environments @ 50%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 50%
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