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Exploring Indonesia’s Last of the Wild – the Forgotten Islands

By Stuart Campbell and Nils Krueck

The Forgotten Islands occupy a region in the southeastern Indonesian province of Maluku, a sparsely-populated area covering about 50,000 square kilometers that includes a vast expanse of coral reefs. As the region’s name suggests, not much is known about these reefs and their associated fisheries. One important reason for this is that for much of the year the seas are wild and unable to be accessed. Another reason is that Maluku’s Forgotten Islands support around 70,000 people who practice traditional customs that hark back to before the conversion of communities to Christianity. These customs include the guarding of marine resources against occasional visitors, such as nomadic fishers from central Indonesia

Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle Conservation Day

Today is Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle Conservation Day! Today is a day to celebrate conservation achievements and to continue to work for real protections for these critically endangered sea turtles. Pacific Leatherback Sea Turtle Conservation Day was declared by Governor Jerry Brown and signed into law two years ago. Turtle Island Restoration Network led the…

Busting Indonesia’s Manta Gill Trade

This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Read our other articles on the National Geographic News Watch blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world. Text and photos by iLCP Fellow Paul Hilton. Writing this from a hotel room in Indonesia’s second-largest city, Surabaya, I realize…

The Coral Triangle: Amazon of the Oceans

This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Read our other articles on the National Geographic News Watch blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world. Text and photos by iLCP Fellow James Morgan. I’ve been fortunate to see most of the world’s oceans the past couple…

Transforming Indonesia’s Manta Fisheries

This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP). Read our other articles on the National Geographic News Watch blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world. Text and photos by iLCP Fellow Shawn Heinrichs Transforming Indonesia’s Manta Fisheries: The path to creating an effective Manta Sanctuary Indonesia announced…

The Global Status of Sharks

Hunter S. Thompson once wrote “It was the Law of the Sea, they said. Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.” While he was talking about piracy and salvage in the Florida Keys, there is an ecological attractiveness in this statement that…

Climate Change Already Having Profound Impacts on Lakes in Europe

For perspective on how climate change is affecting lakes, those of us here in the U.S. can just look across the pond, where scientists and the agencies involved in meeting the European Union’s Water Framework Directive have amassed an impressive body of research on the topic. Not only are extreme weather events such as droughts…

Local Leaders Restoring Fishing Economy and Ocean Health

By: Michael Bell, Oceans Program Director, The Nature Conservancy in California The best way to protect our oceans is by empowering local communities and fishermen that have the most to gain from sustainable fisheries.  The Nature Conservancy and its partners have tested this theory by partnering with local fishing communities to take charge of the waters…

To Save Coral Reefs, Start With Parrotfish

  Coral reefs are very complex ecosystems, but luckily managing them sustainably is not. Simply don’t catch fish faster than they reproduce, don’t damage the corals or pollute the water, reduce atmospheric CO2, and protect some areas as marine reserves. That’s easier said than done, and it’s not news. What is new is that an…

Healthy Seas and Healthy Communities: The People of Honduras’ Mesoamerican Reef

This article is brought to you by the International League of Conservation Photographers (iLCP) and features the work of our Fellows on iLCP projects and expeditions.  Read our other articles on the National Geographic News Watch blog featuring the work of our iLCP Fellow Photographers all around the world. Text and photos by iLCP Fellow Karen…

Recognizing World Fish Migration Day in the Amazon’s Waters

The Amazon basin—with its vast rainforests and river systems—is the most bio-diverse place on earth and, not surprisingly, a region rich in discovery. Newly described plant and animal species are a frequent occurrence. The recent video documentation of a newly discovered fish migration is a much rarer event and particularly noteworthy this weekend as we celebrate World Fish Migration Day, a one-day global initiative to boost awareness of the importance of open rivers and migratory fish.

Overfishing Remains Biggest Threat to Mediterranean, Study Confirms

Marine Ecologist Enric Sala says a new study produced by a dozen researchers confirms that the Mediterranean is on a trajectory to become a sea dominated by small tropical species that no one likes to eat. “Fishes will not be abundant, and the native species that the Greeks and Romans started to fish commercially will be rare — and most fisheries and the jobs they support will collapse,” he says. But this could change “if we stop all the irrational overfishing,” Sala adds, “including both legal and illegal fishing, and protect a large chunk of the Mediterranean. Without these radical changes, we’re just going to reduce the Mediterranean Sea to a soup of microbes and jellyfish.”

Catastrophic Landslides on Antipodes Island

This recent Austral (southern hemisphere) summer a team of researchers continued their annual Antipodean albatross monitoring. The Antipodean wandering albatross (Diomedea antipodensis) is only found on Antipodes Island, and is a close relative of the Gibson’s wandering albatross found on nearby Adams Island. This monitoring work has been going on for 20 years and has…

Financing Sustainable Fisheries With Impact Investments

Impact IQ – What’s good for the fish is good for the fishing communities — and for impact investors. That’s the thesis of three new vehicles for investing in sustainable fisheries that will be tested in the Philippines, Chile, and Brazil over the next two years and then offered to investors more broadly. Former New York City…

European Union Fisheries Ban Ignores Belize Conservation Success Story

In its coastal fisheries, Belize is leading the way in innovative management strategies designed to preserve biodiversity in a manner that keeps fishermen on the water and focused on the long-term sustainability of fish stocks. Future generations of Belizeans will be able to carry on their rich fishing traditions thanks to the decisions, at times quite difficult, being made right now.