Created 3-Dec-11
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I spent most of this trip in Komodo National Park, one of the world's richest marine environments. Over 1,000 species of fish, 260 species of reef building corals and many, many reef creatures of the spineless sort (invertebrates) make up the marine life here. The park is of course also home to the Komodo dragon, the largest living "lizard" (up to 3 meters). The diving is nothing short of spectacular and the photography can be very productive.
The marine ecosystems of Indonesia have an incredible biodiversity, arguable the richest in the word. Sadly, many reefs have been affected by illegal and destructive fishing. These activities even reach into the National Parks, such as Komodo, as we witnessed first-hand.
During the trip I visited the fish farm, Bali Aquarich, and the fishing village of Les, on the North Bali coast.
Bali Aquarich is the largest clownfish farm in Asia. The farm's area is primarily filled by swimming pool sized tanks many of which are stocked full of healthy clownfish juveniles. Hundreds of thousands of over 20 clownfish species are produced here a year. Clownfish have an enormous production potential and and there is no reason to collect them from the reefs. Bali Aquarich is a true testament to that. The farm also exclusively produces the pinnate batfish (in astounding numbers) and is actively R&D'ing more difficult to raise reef fishes (marine angelfish, blue tangs, anthias). Owned by Wen-ping Su, Bali Aquarich is a paradise for any reef fish farmer.
At Les Village fish collection and reef conservation coexist. Here aquarium fish collectors ocean ranch ornamental shrimps, rehabilitate their reefs by establishing artificial aggregation structures in damaged areas, and practice sustainable collection using nets (as opposed to the more common and destructive method of cyanide fishing). Les is an uplifting example of Indonesians living their lives by actively caring for their families as well as their reefs. The continued support and education of the aquarium collectors at Les village is a project organized by LINI (The Indonesian Nature Foundation).
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