Wakatobi, Indonesia, January 8, 2015 – A few years ago, Sudirman was a fisherman in Wakatobi, Sulawesi. He did not bring home enough income, so he took on part-time jobs.
Today, Sudirman owns a small ecotourism business, providing diving equipment and underwater guided tours for tourists. Life for him and his family is now much better.
“There were times before when we weren’t sure if we had enough food to eat. Now I can afford my children’s education needs, and more,” he said proudly.
Sudirman’s turn of fortune owes much to the rehabilitation of the coral reefs in Wakatobi—and that rehabilitation was carried out with support from Coremap, a World Bank-supported project which helps restore coral reefs in the country while also helping improve livelihoods of local communities.
Coral reef coverage increasing
Active in 358 coastal communities across Indonesia, Coremap’s main beneficiaries are families highly dependent on small-scale reef fishing for their livelihood. Like Sudirman, many said that their earnings from fishing were not enough to meet basic needs. In addition, many of them used destructive and illegal fishing methods such as cyanide and explosives to increase fish catches. This has now changed.
“Many fishermen here used dynamite to catch fish,” said Hendriawan, a fisherman. “They don’t do it anymore because they are now aware about the dangers of damaging the coral reefs.”
Coremap has helped improve coral reef rehabilitation by establishing fishing and protection zones, empowering fishermen to monitor the coral reefs, and raising community awareness, including classes in public schools.