Nusa Penida Marine Protected Area: A new “Hope Spot” for the Coral Triangle

Guest post by Coral Triangle Center

Greetings from the Coral Triangle! We are excited to share some news from Bali, Indonesia, about a special place, home to fascinating marine creatures like southern sunfish and manta rays.

Manta ray
Photo by Marthen Welly, Coral Triangle Center.


But first, have you heard of the Coral Triangle?

The Coral Triangle is a geographic area in the tropics that includes waters of six countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and the Solomon Islands. Unlike countries, which are delineated by political boundaries, the Coral Triangle is defined by its marine biodiversity. More than 500 species of hard corals are found in these waters.

Coral reef Nusa Penida
Photo by Marthen Welly, Coral Triangle Center.


Here at the southwest tip of the Coral Triangle, we in Bali are celebrating the launch of a new Mission Blue Hope Spot. Hope Spots are ecologically unique marine places where local individuals and communities work to protect their natural resources. Through her organization Mission Blue, Dr. Sylvia Earle initiated the Hope Spot program to recognize, empower and support these people and places. On May 22, International Day for Biological Diversity, we will officially launch the Nusa Penida Marine Protected Area Hope Spot.

Nusa Penida
Photo by Marthen Welly, Coral Triangle Center.


Nusa Penida is a cluster of three small islands—Penida, Lembongan and Ceningan—off the southeast coast of Bali. The islands are surrounded by a marine protected area (MPA) that was established in 2014 after several years of planning and collaboration among government agencies and stakeholders from local communities and the private sector. The MPA was designed with goals of conserving the islands’ coastal ecosystems while supporting local communities’ livelihoods and economies.

Today, the islands’ 46,000 or so residents welcome around 300,000 guests to the islands during a typical year. Visitors come to snorkel and dive with charismatic megafauna such as southern sunfish, oceanic and reef mantas, green and hawksbill turtles, and a variety of sharks and rays. They tour the islands’ stunning coastal cliffs and learn about local Hindu customs like Nyepi Segara, a day to honor the Balinese ruler of the seas, Dewa Baruna. With so many visitors, however, the islands’ resources are being stretched to their limit. As the number of visitors grows, resources like fresh water and the capacity to manage trash and sewage are increasingly strained. One of the goals of the Nusa Penida MPA is to ensure that growing tourism does not negatively affect the islands’ coastal ecological resources. Recognition as a Hope Spot will help the MPA by raising awareness to the natural riches that stand to be lost if we fail to manage our own impacts as human residents of and visitors to this special place.

Atuh beach
Photo by Leilani Gallardo, Coral Triangle Center.


To mark the Hope Spot launch, we at the Coral Triangle Center will co-host a public webinar together with Mission Blue and the Nusa Penida MPA Management Unit. The webinar will feature panelists from all three organizations plus additional speakers from the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries and Green School Bali, a partner in nominating this Hope Spot. Panelists will speak to their experience regarding lessons and successes in marine conservation at Nusa Penida; the role of the government in managing the MPA; engaging stakeholders to support the MPA’s mission; and inspiring the next generation of marine stewards through school visits. The public webinar will be held on May 21, 2020 at 6:30 pm PDT/May 22, 2020 at 9:30 am Bali time. Register for the Zoom webinar here.

We appreciate the support and enthusiasm for the Nusa Penida MPA Hope Spot from our friends at the Seattle Aquarium. Terima kasih!

Coral Triangle Center



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