Bahoi is proof that small, community-managed marine sanctuaries have a better chance of success.
THE people of Bahoi, a village that hugs the coastline of north Sulawesi in Indonesia, live off the richness of the sea. They mostly fish for a living, so a healthy ocean is essential if they are to support themselves.
To protect their livelihood and ensure that the sea will continue to provide for future generations, the people of the village that is a two-hour drive from the provincial capital city of Manado, have set up an 8ha marine protected area (MPA) with the help of local conservation groups Yapeka and Celebio.
No fishing or collecting of marine animals is allowed in this reserve off the coastline, and the effect of this protection is obvious during an afternoon of snorkelling: within the sanctuary is a thriving reef filled with myriad species of hard and soft corals, fish and other invertebrates. In the adjacent area that is unprotected, the reef is degraded.
Yapeka started working with Bahoi villagers to create the MPA in 2008. Its director of coasts and research, Akbar Digdo, says the project ended last year but was renewed after support came in from French conservation group GoodPlanet Foundation and watchmaker Omega.
The three-year collaboration under the foundation’s “Time for the Planet” project kicked off last December with these aims: to strengthen the resilience of the marine biodiversity; preserve local economic activities; and empower the local community in conservation efforts. Omega supports the project financially through proceeds from the sale of the Seamaster Planet Ocean 600M GoodPlanet GMT wristwatches.