Activities and achievements
The NSWA has made significant strides in improving the management and conservation of Bunaken National Park and surrounding marine ecosystems and in conferring concrete benefits of tourism to the villagers living within the park. These achievements include:
- Instituted a voluntary but strict ban on all anchoring within the park by member's boats.
- Sponsored a mooring buoy design competition (with cash awards) for villages within the Bunaken National Park. Submitted designs were then used for installing a series of moorings at 3 islands and one mainland site in the park.
- Sponsored a village handicrafts program whereby local villagers have been encouraged to produce a variety of reef-friendly handicrafts for sale to diving tourists, including embroidered marine life handkerchiefs, coconut shell carvings of marine animals, and miniature replicas of traditional dugout canoes. Revenues to villagers from this program have topped 25 million rupiah.
- Initiated a scholarship donation fund that has already awarded two 5-year university scholarships in marine sciences and one 3-year tourism vocational school scholarship to villagers living within the Bunaken National Park and Lembeh Strait, and is now targeting 8 village children for Manado high school scholarships for 2002.
- Designed a reef-friendly marine tourism practices brochure to be distributed to all arriving guests, and sponsored a PADI Project AWARE workshop on responsible dive tourism for the Manado community.
- Donated funding to support the printing of 300 coral reef educational cartoon books for distribution to local school children ("Torang Pe Nyare", developed by NRM/EPIQ Sulawesi Utara program).
- Donated a library of reef educational books to the AlungBanoa village conservation information center and a set of costumes and musical instruments to the Bunaken village cultural preservation society.
- Instituted a night patrol system whereby members boats, fuel and boat personnel were donated for use on alternate nights to patrol the Bunaken National Park with park rangers.
- Initiated a "Bunaken Preservation Fund" user fee of $5/person that was collected from all diving and snorkelling guests of member businesses and used to support enforcement activities throughout the park. This fee system was developed in response to the growing threat from illegal and destructive fishing activities in the park. The enforcement fund is managed via a memorandum of understanding between the NSWA, Bunaken National Park Authority (BTNB) and the water police force (SATPOLAIRUD) and is primarily used to support increased patrol activities throughout the park. This patrol system has already resulted in numerous cyanide and blast fishing arrests. The preservation fund has now been replaced by the official entrance fee system.
- Sponsored the television production of the "Trashing Sulawesi" information video for airing on the local TVRI television station.
- Sponsored 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 "Dive Into Earth Day" beach and reef cleanups involving hundreds of local villagers and middle school students from the Manado Area.
- Represented the united voice of dive operators in North Sulawesi in calling to the attention of local and national government officials the current primary threats to the sustainable use of Bunaken National Park and Lembeh Strait ecosystems, including ocean trash disposal, destructive fishing practices, mercury poisoning from illegal mining, and unregulated tourism development in ecologically sensitive areas.
- Cooperated with the Bunaken National Park Authority (BTNB) in the participative Bunaken National Park zonation revision process and in suggesting innovative ways to institute a user fee system for park visitors. Also worked with the BTNB in reporting illegal activities within the park and reporting monthly visitor numbers.
- Committed to hiring more local villagers in member's businesses.
- Developed and sponsored North Sulawesi marine tourism press releases and advertisements in 6 international diving/tourism magazines.