(Editor’s note: Conservancy Senior Marine Scientist Alison Green is on an expedition to the Raja Ampat islands in Indonesia — amidst some of the most spectacular and biodiverse coral reef ecosystems in the world. Catch up on all her posts from the expedition.)
There are many ways to do conservation. One approach is to develop Marine Conservation Agreements with people who have exclusive rights over marine areas, such as oyster leases in the United States. Marine conservation agreements help people who depend economically on the ocean — through activities like fishing, harvesting and ecotourism — to continue using it in ways that also protect biodiversity.
Jay Udelhoven, senior policy advisor for The Nature Conservancy’s Global Marine Team, leads this work for the Conservancy and is currently in Indonesia to assess the feasibility and role of Marine Conservation Agreements (MCAs) in the Coral Triangle.
Working closely with Eleanor Carter of the Conservancy’s Indonesia Marine Program, Jay meets with conservation practitioners and visiting field projects to learn new insights about MCAs.
Last week they were in Southeast Misool, where they met with managers of Misool Eco Resort (MER) to discuss how a private ecotourism company (such as MER) can enter into lease agreements with local land and sea owners to protect ocean biodiversity.
MER currently leases 200 square kilometers of ocean and islands within the SE Misool MPA, which the Conservancy helps the Indonesian government to manage. Representatives from the Walton Family Foundation (who are supporting this work), the Conservancy, Conservation International, WWF, CORAL and MER were all on-hand for a lively discussion about MER’s role in the MPA management.
Jay’s findings and recommendations should be available in September 2010.
(Image 1: Misool Eco Resort. Credit: Jay Udelhoven. Image 2: Partners meet to discuss Marine Conservation Agreements at the Misool Eco Resort. Credit: Jay Udelhoven).