GAIA Conservation successfully organized the second volume of Saturdays with GAIA Conservation from August 25th to September 25th, 2021. An annual webinar to provide the most up-to-date facts and ideas about marine conservation. The event takes place every Saturday for a month, as its names imply. The event is divided into four episodes, and each one covers a different theme, such as shark, sea turtle, ray & skate conservation, as well as marine ecotourism. It’s being hosted as a virtual webinar as a way to learn in the midst of an ongoing pandemic in Indonesia. GAIA Conservation invited various specialists with competence and years of experience in marine conservation to each episode.
The first episode of the event, titled “Citizen Science for Shark Research and Conservation,” explored shark conservation. In the first episode, GAIA Conservation invited Abraham Sianipar as a speaker. The first episode included information on the current state of elasmobranch fisheries in Indonesia, particularly sharks. “For almost four decades, Indonesia has been the world’s greatest producer of shark and ray fisheries,” said Abraham Sianipar, a shark researcher and Murdoch University Master’s student. Citizen science can help the government design and improve shark fishery regulations, as well as broadening information regarding shark conservation in Indonesia.
I Wayan Wiradnyana and Drh. Ida Bagus Windia Adnyana were guests on GAIA Conservation’s second episode. The second episode, titled “The Usability of Sea Turtle in Culture and Prayer Ceremony from a Conservation Perspective,” covered sea turtle conservation. In Bali, Indonesia, the sea turtle has a long history as a cultural and symbolic figure. Until recently, both have been used in religious and cultural activities. Organizations interested with the conservation of sea turtle species, such as the Bali Sea Turtle Society (BSTS), shared many insights with audiences. “Not every ceremony in Bali uses a sea turtle as a tribute; only a large ceremony that is considered Nyatur Muka approved to utilize it,” BSTS spokesperson Bli Wayan Wiradnyana explained.
Back then, the conservation and economic value of sea turtles collided since the two causes for sea turtles in Bali were distinct. Today, the use of sea turtles in ceremonies in Bali is regulated, ensuring that the population of sea turtles remains stable. “The recognition of sea turtle culture and conservation might make rules more dynamic, and people who have been utilizing turtles for a long time could accept the reason,” said Drh. Windia, a lecturer at Udayana University.
The event’s third episode discusses marine tourism and conservation. Lita Hutapea was invited to talk on the episode “Conservation and Marine Tourism in the Middle of a Pandemic”. Lita Hutapea explained in this episode that the pandemic is making a huge impact on the tourism sector, particularly in the field of marine ecotourism. It has an impact on the livelihood of people who work in the marine ecotourism industry. Because of the significant negative impact, groups that had previously abandoned marine exploitation in favor of ecotourism are again returning to illegal exploitation. “There are other solutions to this cause, including virtual tourism and developing another way to entrepreneurship that follows pandemic health protocols,” said Lita Hutapea, a marine conservationist of Conservation International Indonesia.
Wedgefish conservation is the theme of the final episode. It was titled “Conservation Efforts in Restoring Wedgefish Population.” GAIA Conservation invited Benaya Simeon to speak on the subject. The fourth episode discusses the declining wedgefish population, locally known as “pari kekeh/kikir.” “Wedgefish conservation in Indonesia has to be more worried,” said Benaya Simeon, an elasmobranch researcher. “The strategy could range from catch report, restriction, releasement, protection, and prohibition as the last choice.”
The second volume of Saturdays with GAIA Conservation wraps up with strong enthusiasm from each episode’s audience, with the hope of meeting more people who care about marine conservation in Indonesia in the next volume.
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