Manta Tow training for coral reef monitoring in Indonesia

24 June 2011 - As the members of Tim Pengkajian, Penetapan dan Perancangan Pengelolaan Kawasan Konservasi Perairan Laut Sawu (P4KKP) — an institutionalized co-management team for the National Sea Marine Park of Savu Sea, RFLP Indonesia and The Nature Conservancy (TNC)  Savu Sea project are working together to improve the capacity of community groups to monitor marine resources.

One method being used is the Manta Tow technique which sees a person towed behind a boat for a short distance to observe and record marine resources. It is considered effective for community-based coral reef monitoring.

Training organized by RFLP and TNC in Kupang in Indonesia’s NTT province recently saw 27 community control group members, district and provincial fisheries and marine affairs (DKP) staff, and representatives of several local universities take part.

Training covered the basics of manta-tow, coral reefs, GPS and GIS application, map drawing, snorkeling and manta-tow field practice. In addition, participants were also trained in safety-at-sea measures. Participants furthremore conducted a trial to collect coral reef data using the technique in the Tenau area of Kupang bay.

The training was led and supervised by Dr. Munasik, a Manta Tow expert of Diponegoro University. He was assisted by students and staff of the community research and development Institute of Diponegoro University, the P4KKP team, and the TNC.

RFLP provided lifejackets during the field practice and distributed some 30 lifejackets to the participants afterwards.

The RFLP’s National Project Coordinator Aminudin Salka said, “Manta Tow is a useful and practical tool that empowers local communities to effectively monitor coastal resources. RFLP plans to use the technique for pilot community-based coral reef monitoring activities to be carried out by Community Control Groups in areas in which the RFLP is working.”