The Diver Code of Conduct
To ensure the many visiting divers have limited impacts on the sunfish and the reef ecosystem, a Code of Conduct for Ocean Sunfish Interactions was developed. The guidelines also cover interactions with manta rays. Check out the downloadable poster here and the Code of Conduct video below!
In 2014 Nusa Penida became a Marine Protected Area (MPA) and at that time these initial, voluntary guidelines were made an official part of the park regulations by the Klungkung District Government.
The capacity of the MPA management unit is still very small and with the ever growing marine tourism industry it is not an easy task to monitor and manage the entire MPA at all times.
It is vitally important that each individual that intends to visit this area takes it on themselves to behave responsibly and respectfully to help preserve this important ecosystem. If we all do our part we, and future generations, will be able to enjoy the beauty and economic success of the marine park.
Please watch the Code of Conduct video and let's all do our part to help protect our coral reefs, which protect all the species that inhabit them and, in turn, ensures the continued annual aggregation of our enchanting Bali Sunfish.
The Nusa Penida Marine Protected Area
The popularity of the Nusa Penida Islands among scuba divers and snorkelers is mainly a result of the incredible biodiversity of the area and the healthy condition of reefs.
According to ecological surveys done between 2002 – 2009, Nusa Penida’s marine environment is comprised of :
1,419 hectare coral reef system
296 species of coral
576 species of reef fish.
230 hectares, 13 species of mangrove forest
108 hectares, 8 species of seagrass
These stunning reefs also accommodate many charismatic species including manta rays, sharks, turtles and, of course, the infamous ocean sunfish.
This high diversity of marine life twinned with the growing number of visitors did not go unnoticed and in 2008 the first major steps began towards establishing the Nusa Penida Islands into a Marine Protected Area (MPA).
It was not only the high levels of biodiversity that made Nusa Penida so important and of such interest to science and conservation. The water temperatures around Nusa Penida are generally colder than other areas of Bali, particularly when compared to the northern coastline. The temperatures are not only generally colder but also fluctuate throughout the day and year. Cold water upwellings that coincide with the seasonal sunfish aggregation can bring temperatures as low as 16 degrees Celcius.
These temperature oscillations give the coral of Nusa Penida valuable protection from ever growing environmental threats, in particular ocean warming and the increased frequency and intensity of El Nino events. This natural support system means that not only are the corals around Nusa Penida healthier and more abundant but they are also naturally more resilient to temperature change and shocks.
Protecting the Nusa Penida reef system is to protect the coral that has the ability to regenerate the more vulnerable reefs around Bali. With many reefs in decline around the world it is vital that we help protect, preserve and propagate the reefs to which Nature has given a fighting chance.