Indonesia’s new stranding network

Indonesia has one of the longest coastlines in the world – over 80,000km. About 35 species of cetaceans, plus the dugong, are known to occur in the region, and a myriad of human activities take place in the marine environment.  Therefore the country is likely to experience a large number of stranding events. Records of strandings in Indonesia are being compiled opportunistically and presented on a new website: www.whalestrandingindonesia.com.  This shows 102 stranding events from 2000-2012, about half of which were of unidentified species. Considering Indonesia’s long coastline and the lack of systematic reporting, this number is likely a great underestimate of the actual number of strandings.

In November 2012, following a high-profile stranding of 48 short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) in East Nusa Tenggara Province, the Indonesian Ministry of Marine and Fisheries Affairs officially formed a National Committee to establish a National Stranding Network and develop a stranding protocol.  The National Committee is expected to publish the final stranding protocol in April 2013 and this protocol will be distributed to all provinces in the country. To better coordinate in-country stranding response efforts, the Committee has formed seven working nodes in Indonesia: Sumatra, Bali, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara, and Papua. Local network mechanisms (including call center, coordination and funding) will be discussed in the next few months with the following schedule: April (Bali), May (East Nusa Tenggara), June (East Kalimantan) and October (West Java).  First-responder training will also be given and nation-wide veterinary training will be conducted before the end of the year.

For further information, contact Putu Liza Mustika (‘Icha’) at putu.liza@my.jcu.edu.au.

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