A pair of WWF scientists are studying Indonesia’s eastern marine parks to determine how local people interact with nature.
Photojournalist and filmmaker James Morgan documented their research.
Indonesia: a vast archipelago, the world’s largest maritime nation, home to the richest marine biodiversity — but in danger of being wrecked by overfishing and other unsustainable practices. That’s why the country has pledged to establish 20 million hectares of marine protected areas (MPAs) by 2020. Like their terrestrial counterparts, these national parks of the sea often have large human populations, and the restrictions they impose can result in the marginalization of local communities that rely on the seas and coasts for their livelihoods.
To better understand the human component of these marine ecosystems, World Wildlife Fund (WWF) scientists Louise Glew and Gabby Ahmadia are conducting a massive census of fish and people in eastern Indonesia, which comprises much of the Coral Triangle. Over five years, the two have interviewed 3,500 households and counted 500,000 fish, making theirs the most comprehensive study of its kind. The researchers hope to disentangle some myths about MPAs and help foster a more inclusive paradigm for managing the seas.