Context and objectivesFordate is a small island in the Tanimbar archipelago and the surrounding area is home to both fringing reefs and a large patch reef. The area is part of one of the top ten coral reef hotspots identified by UNEP’s World Conservation monitoring Centre as exceptionally rich in endemic marine species but facing extreme threat. Destructive fishing techniques, such as blast fishing and cyanide fishing pose a major threat to the sustainability of the marine ecosystems and more in particular the coral reefs. Although these techniques are banned, they are still prevalent.
Local marine tenure systems encourage villagers to protect their own reef resources, but unemployment and emigration erode the social structure of the fishing communities and put this traditional system of marine tenure under threat. Hence, a sustainable development of the island is closely linked to the conservation of the surrounding reefs.
To realize this, the first necessary step is to map the reefs with respect to type, health and depth. As this is not feasible by conventional in situ methods alone – considering the remoteness of the reefs and the expense of expeditionary travel- , a remote sensing based approach is required. Therefore the aim of this project is “the development of an efficient monitoring system for coral reef ecosystems based on remote sensing information”.