BADUNG, OCTOBER 30rd 2017- Nyegara Gunung, Balinese philosophy that considers the mountains and the seas as one and integral. The Bali sea has been used to support local communities since as early as the 11th century with the development of Subak in 1072 AD. How healthy is the Bali sea? Today marks the release of the Bali Ocean Health Index (OHI)+, an assessment used to measure the benefits Bali’s ocean and coastal resources.
The score of Bali OHI+ is 51 out of a possible 100, meaning there is a room for improvement to achieve a healthy, sustainable ocean. A score of 100 represents a healthy ocean that provides maximum benefits to people now and into the future. The Ocean Health Index (OHI) is a study pioneered by Conservation International (CI) in collaboration with universities and other research institutions, by reviewing the marine health index in 25 countries in 2012.
Bali Province started as a pilot project in August 2016, examining the health of Bali’s ocean resources named Bali OHI+. The OHI+, the (+) indicates that this study is conducted by the CI Indonesia team and stakeholders, uses Bali’s data sets that are adjusted to local conditions and needs.
“Since the beginning, it was agreed that the OHI+ Bali is a shared asset, not only a study by CI Indonesia, because the OHI+ will not only produce a “score,” but will inform future policy decisions,” said Iwan Dewantama, Bali Island Manager Conservation International Indonesia.
The OHI+ integrates Bali policy initiatives to support sustainable sea management and began with the formation of the Bali OHI+ Technical Team, through the decree from the Head of Research and Development Center for Coastal and Marine Resources, number 53 / BALITBANG KP.2 / XII / 2016 Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries concerning the Implementation Team of the Ocean Health Index Pilot Study for Bali Seas.
As a comprehensive framework, OHI can be applied at global, regional, and national scales, enabling tailored assessments with relevant results. The Bali OHI+ framework encourages repeated studies to measure progress / improvement towards a healthy and sustainably managed Bali Sea.
The resulting Bali OHI+ framework was transformed into nine goals that reflect what local stakeholders believed to be important for maintaining healthy oceans: Food Provision, Artisanal Fishing Opportunity, Tourism and Recreation, Clean Water, Natural Products, Biodiversity, Coastal Protection, Carbon Storage and Sense of Place.
“The Bali OHI+ teams worked together continuously to obtain the results of the OHI scores. This OHI approach will in fact provide new insights into the conditions and actions that need to be taken to prevent the health of the sea and promote sustainable utilization,” said I Nyoman Radiarta, coordinator and government representative for the Bali OHI+ assessment.
Overall, Bali’s ocean biodiversity and clean waters received high scores. Bali is home to 935+ critical marine species, 38 of which are in the “Near Threatened” category. The Indonesian Throughflow (Arlindo) runs along the eastern side of Bali, bringing regular nutrient rich waters through the area. This current also maintains the physical dynamics of the Bali Sea (water temperature, salinity, etc.) so that it remains an ideal location for ecosystems and species to thrive.
However, massive infrastructure development on coastal area threaten the mangrove area as carbon storage which obtained the lowest score. Healthy mangrove and seagrass ecosystems help reduce the rate of carbon emissions to the atmosphere. More than 70% of these ecosystems are healthy, but they all continue to face threats.
“The Bali OHI+ study puts forward the collaborative process between stakeholders which results in learning synergies and producing scores that show the condition of Bali’s sea and recommendations for improvement both in terms of data availability and for marine and fisheries aspects in Bali Province,” said Ir. I Made Gunaja, M.Si, Head of Bali Government Marine and Fisheries Office.