Low-Tech Management Benefits Local and Coral Communities

Written by on October 13, 2012 in Marine Life
Reticulated dascyllus and staghorn coral, found in Indonesia. Photo credit: Dr. DwayneMeadows, NOAA/NMFS/OPR.

Reticulated dascyllus and staghorn coral, found in Indonesia. Photo credit: Dr. DwayneMeadows, NOAA/NMFS/OPR.

A new study shows that coral reefs in Aceh, Indonesia are benefiting from a centuries-old, low-tech management system, called Panglima Laot.

The study, conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and James Cook University, revealed that the reefs in this area have as much as eight times more fish and hard-coral cover as areas that are not managed in the Panglima Laot system.

Key factors that make Panglima Laot so successful:

  • focus on social harmony and reducing conflict over marine resources among communities
  • fishing gear restrictions
  • clearly defined membership rights
  • rules that limit use of resources
  • right of users to make, change, and enforce rule
  • plan for conflict resolution

“No-take fishing areas can be impractical in regions where people rely heavily on reef fish for food,” explained lead author Dr. Stuart Campbell of the WCS.  “The guiding principle of Panglima Laot was successful in minimizing habitat degradation and maintaining fish biomass despite ongoing access to the fishery.  Such mechanisms to reduce conflict are the key to success of marine resource management, particularly in settings which lack resources for enforcement.”

Gorgonian soft coral. Photo credit: NOAA.

Gorgonian soft coral. Photo credit: NOAA.

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Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of MarineScienceToday.com. She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .

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