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Des '05

Site Spotlight- Aceh Province, Sumatra, Indonesia

Overturned table coral, Pulau Rondo            Photo: A. HaganThe December 26, 2004 earthquake and tsunami precipitated one of the greatest humanitarian crises in history with an estimated 232,000 lives lost and 400,000 people left homeless. It was also feared that the giant tsunami waves, reaching as high as 20 meters in some areas, had damaged coral reefs. One of the most severely impacted regions was the west coast of Aceh Province, Sumatra, Indonesia. During the month of October, Reef Check joined forces with the Living Oceans Foundation and The World Conservation Union (IUCN) to assess the extent of damage done to coral reefs along over 660 kilometers of Aceh’s Western coastline and near-shore islands. More...Despite high seas and tough weather, the efforts of the international team of researchers proved fruitful. In addition to observing corals overturned by the tsunami, the group also encountered tilted islands and raised reefs. Despite concentrated damage in some areas, the study’s findings suggest that sedimentation (exacerbated by the tsunami), overfishing, and damaging fishing methods have caused greater damage to Aceh’s reef ecosystems than did the tsunami of 26 December, 2004. A complete report will be published in January. The following participants made this expedition possible:

- Cipto A. Gunawan (expedition coordinator)
- Dr. Annelise Hagan (Living Oceans Foundation)
- Nishan Perrera (IUCN)
- Dr. Onny Prabowo (hyperbaric doctor)
- Cerman Simamora (Metro TV)
- Hasan Nugraha (diving technician)
- RC scientists: Yunaldi Yahya, Yan Manuputty, Ivan Silaban, Ibnu Hazam, Robert Foster

Aceh Expedition Team

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