Aceh Province northern sea is the best coral reef habitat in western Indonesia. This territory is the gate to Indonesian archipelago, where its biodiversity is the mix between species in Pacific and Indian Ocean. We could find approximately 558 reef fish species, 44 hard coral genus, 3 sea turtle species with at least six species in Weh Island and its surrounding is endemic to Indonesia waters.
Main threat of this area is the unsustainable fishing activity, including the application of cyanide fishing by some local fishers. Furthermore, the high number of fishing activity using speargun becomes the main reason of carnivore fish reduction such as grouper and snapper, both in Weh Island or Pulau Aceh (Beras and Nasi Island). The absence of the management on shark utilization also becomes a special challenge in fisheries management in Aceh Waters.
WCS-IP started working in Aceh since 2005 through by conducting a coral reef survey to study the impact of the 2004 tsunami on coral reef ecosystem. In 2007, WCS-IP intensively assisted Government of Kota Sabang in managing Weh Island’s natural resources. Through WCS-IP’s effort to support the local government to increase the effectiveness of northern Aceh sea management, the Eastern Coast of Weh Island established as marine protected area. The Kota Sabang government also achieved awards as appreciation to their success in managing the sea and coastal area, such as the Pesisir Award, the national award for regency who has clear vision on coastal area and sea management and the best pilot sites in E-KKP3K Award. The main activities of us in this region are:
a. Facilitating the establishment of Marine Protected Areas in Kota Sabang and Aceh Besar Regency;
b. Strengthening management institution of Marine Protected Areas in Kota Sabang and Aceh Besar Regency;
c. Implementation of species conservation program (sharks and rays), especially in northern end of Aceh sea and western coast of Aceh.