Menjangan Island is located off the coast of NW Bali. The island and surrounding waters lie within a Marine Protected Area (MPA), as part of the Bali Barat National Park (BBNP), officially formed in 1984. Although many organizations have surveyed this reef area over the span of four decades, this is the first time that data on reef quality is compared over a nine year timeframe, from 2002 until 2011.
From 19 March to 10 April 2011, eleven sites were studied: eight were located within Bali Barat National Park (BBNP) and three were located outside. The sites were clustered into areas identified as “BBNP Menjangan Is.” (sites surrounding Menjangan Island), “BBNP Sumber Klampok” (sites adjacent to the mainland) and “Sumber Kima” (sites outside the MPA). Sites within BBNP Menjangan Is. contained the highest mean cover of live hard corals (42%) although these sites also had the highest incidence of damaged coral colonies and of fishing gear. Comparisons of the benthic substrate data in 2011 with data collected in 2002 suggests that there was an overall increase in coral coverage in each of the 3 areas, as well as an increase in the damage to live hard corals. The two areas within BBNP had more than twice as much fish biomass in comparison with the area outside BBNP. Using the Index of Fish Diversity in the Indo Pacific region (CFDI; Allen and Werner, 2002), fish species were judged to be moderately diverse within the BBNP and poorly diverse outside.
Although Menjangan Island lies within an MPA where no fishing is allowed, there is no enforcement of the no-take zone or prevention of anchoring by visitors to the island, and even as recently as July 2009 blast fishing was observed (pers. comm.). To help maintain the area as a reservoir for biodiversity as well as maintain the economic viability for the people of NW Bali, the Biosphere Foundation initiated a community-based conservation program called “Friends of Menjangan” with Yayasan Dwi Asih Sejahtera, a local Non-Governmental Organization (NGO). This community-based conservation movement is led by members of the local community, with approval from BBNP and participation by all stakeholders.