Komodo National Park
Komodo National Park is located in the center of the Indonesian archipelago, between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores. Established in 1980, initially the main purpose of the Park was to conserve the unique Komodo dragon (Varanus komodoensis) and its habitat. However, over the years, the goals for the Park have expanded to protecting its entire biodiversity, both terrestrial and marine. In 1986, the Park was declared a World Heritage Site and a Man and Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, both indications of the Park’s biological importance.
Komodo National Park includes three major islands: Komodo, Rinca and Padar, as well as numerous smaller islands creating a total surface area (marine and land) of 1817km (proposed extensions would bring the total surface area up to 2,321km2). As well as being home to the Komodo dragon, the Park provides refuge for many other notable terrestrial species such as the orange-footed scrub fowl, an endemic rat, and the Timor deer. Moreover, the Park includes one of the richest marine environments including coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds, seamounts, and semi-enclosed bays. These habitats harbor more than 1,000 species of fish, some 260 species of reef-building coral, and 70 species of sponges. Dugong, sharks, manta rays, at least 14 species of whales, dolphins, and sea turtles also make Komodo National Park their home.
Combating destructive fishing practices in Komodo National Park
Komodo National Park (Figure 1) is located between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores in Indonesia. The park was established in 1980, and has a management unit with 88 staff. The park was declared a Man and Biosphere Reserve and a World Heritage Site in 1986. KNP includes three major islands, Komodo, Rinca and Padar, and numerous smaller islands, together totalling 41 000 ha of land. KNP is famous as the habitat of the Komodo dragon, Varanus komodoensis, but it is also one of the richest areas for coral biodiversity in Indonesia, and has one of the richest fish faunas in the world with an estimated 1000 species. The park contains 132 000 ha of marine waters, with a high diversity of habitats including coral reefs, rocky shores, sea grass beds, sandy bays and mangroves.
There are presently some 2300 inhabitants living within the park, spread out over three settlements (Komodo, Rinca and Kerora). An estimated 15 000 people live in fishing villages directly surrounding the park. Park inhabitants mainly derive their income from a pelagic lift net (‘bagan’) fishery (95% of their yield comes from this geartype) which is targeting squid and small schooling pelagic fish.