The enumerator team heads to Pasi Gusang on the ferry’ (photo: A Lindsay)

BioLEWIE team sets out to model changes to livelihoods, coral reef health at Selayar

BioLEWIE’s second round of field research, this time in Selayar, was completed in October. Residents from 12 of the 52 villages in Selayar, the CCRES project’s Indonesian pilot site, were surveyed to map the economy and its reliance on the coral reef.

As in El Nido, the BioLEWIE research principally seeks to illustrate how marine spatial planning and market changes affect households and livelihoods, as well as the health of the coral reef.

UC Davis PhD student Amanda Lindsay, who coordinated the recent research efforts, says “Early data from Selayar is showing important differences between El Nido and Selayar’s economy, which may affect the responses to policy and market changes”

The tourism sector in Selayar is much smaller than in El Nido. Amanda and her team were surprised to find that key pillars of the tourism sector, including hotels and restaurants – appear to be less dependent on fish inputs than their equivalents in El Nido.

Households engaged in fishing activities could be found all over the island. While fishing households were more common in some of the coastal villages, the researchers could find fishermen in mountain villages. Households without fishermen can easily purchase fish daily from back-of-the-motorbike fish traders and markets throughout the island.

A reliance on coral reefs – one that is centred around households and fish traders – is emerging from the Selayar data. Even though less than one-third of the households surveyed engage in fishing activities, almost all households reported consuming 14 or more meals with fish in the week prior to being surveyed.

Amanda was also interested to learn that most of the fishing happened in the coral reef and seagrass as opposed to pelagic fishing. She said that this may create a policy challenge: “these fishermen will be vulnerable to marine policy changes. But on the other hand, they may benefit from an improvement to the health of the coral reefs”.

For more information, contact Dr Amanda Lindsay, UC Davis