In Kaimana, fishing is life. Located in the province of West Papua in eastern Indonesia, Kaimana’s vast coral reef systems, mangrove-lined estuaries and spectacular limestone karst bays support 1,050 species of reef fishes. More than 200 species are regularly fished for food or sold to regional markets.
How have the fish stocks stayed so healthy? Kaimana has experienced less fishing pressure and ecosystem degradation than neighboring regions due to its remoteness, but that is changing. As global fishing pressure increases to feed the more than 3 billion people who get vital nourishment from seafood, can this remote district in eastern Indonesia continue to balance the needs of fishers, consumers and the environment?
Indonesia’s waters have been open access for far too long, sparking a “tragedy of the commons” in which many fishers have no incentive to limit their catches. Now, the locals who refer to Kaimana as the “Kingdom of Fishes” are taking action to secure their fish populations before it’s too late.