"Blast fishing and fishing activities carried out using toxins have caused serious damage to the coral reefs in the waters of Gili Sulat and Gili Lawang," spokesman of the West Nusa Tenggara WCS monitoring program Sukmaraharja Aulia Rachman Tarigan remarked here on Wednesday.
Tarigan said that apart from catching fish using bombs and toxins, anchors of boats and traditional fishing activities had also caused damage to the coral reefs.
Damaged coral reefs are found in the core and utilization zones as well as outside the conservation areas of the Gili Sulu and Gili Lawang waters.
However, a recovery in coral reefs, marked by new growth, can also been witnessed in some zones, such as in the waters of Batu Mandi and south Gili Sulat.
"We hope that a reduction in fish bombing activities could offer an opportunity for the restoration of the damaged coral habitat," he affirmed.
Sukmaharja revealed that monitoring and evaluation of the ecological ecosystem of the coral reefs in two dykes was conducted on November 14-21, 2017.
The activity was aimed at obtaining information on the condition of the coral reef ecosystem in Lombok based on ecological indicators: coral diversity, hard coral cover, and recruitment.
"Before conducting field observations, we first consolidated the team and provided training, which was attended by the Conservation and Supervision Center for Marine and Fishery Resources of Lombok," he revealed.
Sukmaharja noted that the results of monitoring and evaluation serve as a recommendation for the local governments in West Nusa Tenggara, in the context of sustainable management of coastal and marine resource areas, in addition to realizing the national target of water conservation areas spanning 20 million hectares by 2020.
The West Nusa Tenggara provincial government has designated 229,555.36 hectares for water conservation.
Until 2017, four marine conservation areas on the island of Lombok and six on Sumbawa Island have been reserved. (*)