Nusa Penida in Klungkung regency has been recognized by the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry as one of the most effectively managed marine protected areas (MPA) in Indonesia. “The island received a national award from the ministry as a good example of an MPA with the most efficient management,” Marthen Welly, learning sites manager of the Coral Triangle Center (CTC), said Thursday. The decision was made based on a government benchmark in the evaluation of Water and Small Islands Conservation and Assessments (E-KKP3K). Of the 76 declared MPAs in Indonesia, only seven were selected as most efficiently managed MPAs in Indonesia. Nusa Penida and Raja Ampat are among those that received the highest scores. The development of Nusa Penida MPA was initiated in 2008 by the local community and the Klungkung administration, facilitated by CTC. Numerous joint surveys of coral reefs in the area by the Nature Conservancy and CTC has identified 296 species of coral and 576 types of fish, including five newly discovered species. The MPA was finally declared in 2010 and measures 20,057 hectares. Located 30 minutes by speedboat off the Balinese coast, it attracts about 200,000 tourists each year. Nusa Penida, an island located on the southeast of Bali’s mainland, is also home to several unique marine mega fauna such as mola mola (ocean sunfish), manta ray, turtles, whales and dolphins. To ensure that conditions within the MPA remain good, CTC in collaboration with the MPA management, local communities and dive operators conduct reef health monitoring and data collection annually. This year, it was conducted from May 11 to 18. The results of this year’s monitoring showed that the coral coverage in the area reached 45 percent and the biomass of the fish was about 1.7 kilogram per hectare, which is considered good. “We are still processing the data to get more detailed results, but basically the results of this year’s monitoring are almost similar to last year, which means that the condition in the area has remained stable since last year,” Marthen said. CTC executive director Rili Djohani stated that Nusa Penida had become a jewel in Indonesia’s marine protected area system, as one of the most thoroughly planned and zoned MPAs in the Coral Triangle through bottom-up collaborative management that contributed to people’s livelihoods and economies while protecting the world’s biological wealth for future generations.