Since winning the CORAL Conservation Prize a few months ago, Nyoman Sugiarta has been putting his prize money back into protecting his community’s coral reefs. Nyoman won $20,000 on September 20, 2014 as the first ever CORAL Conservation Prize winner. So what is he doing now?
He recently quit his job as villa caretaker and fisherman to focus full-time on developing a sustainable dive tourism industry in his hometown of Bondalem in Bali. This will generate support for his community’s marine protected area, as well as provide alternative livelihoods for fishermen to reduce the amount of fishing pressure on the reef. In December, Nyoman and his partners from the community surveillance group he used to work at invited the rest of the Bondalem community to attend a meeting to discuss the potential for tourism in the area. Our Coral Triangle Regional Field Manager Naneng Setiasih was a guest speaker at the meeting, and was able to highlight Nyoman’s prize, recognition which excited the entire community.
Nyoman has also been using his prize money to install more fish aggregation devices (FADs), designed to attract more pelagic fish and take the fishing pressure off of nearshore reef fish. This will help compensate the fishermen affected by the no-take zone that was created with the marine protected area.
At CORAL’s 20th anniversary gala in September, the Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries for the Republic of Indonesia announced that the Buleleng Regency (where Bondalem is located) will hold a Dive Bali Buleleng Festival in 2015. Nyoman has started assembling a team to prepare Bondalem for the event, so be on the look-out for more information!