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Putting together the pieces of the Bali OHI+ assessment

Ocean Health Index (OHI) assessments are, by nature, interdisciplinary. They pull together ecological, economic, and social data to paint a more complete picture of ocean health. Accompanying these data and final output scores are the team of experts that help power these studies. The teams localize the OHI framework by pulling together local data, setting reference points, engaging with partners, and helping government agencies utilize the results.

One of these assessments includes the soon to be completed Bali OHI+ study. Started as a pilot project to assess the feasibility of conducting an Indonesia-wide OHI+ assessment, the Bali OHI+ examines the health of Bali’s ocean resources and will serve as a reference to other Indonesian provinces moving forward.

To gain a better understanding of how the assessment was pieced together, we sat down with key team members to learn about their role on the project and how the results of the assessment will be used.

I Nyoman Radiarta

Affiliation: Director, Institute for Marine Research and Observation

What is your role on the OHI+ Bali team? I am a coordinator and government representative for the Bali OHI+ assessment.

What was your contribution to the Bali OHI+ assessment and what was the importance of this component?

I organized, managed, and worked together with the OHI+ team members to develop the Bali OHI+ assessment. This component was very important to make sure everything was going well and as scheduled.

How will the results of the assessment be used?

Knowing the score of each goal, as well as the overall OHI Bali score, can provide a good overview of the condition, challenges, threats, and level of utilization of ocean resources in Bali Province. The results of the Bali OHI+ are highly awaited by the government (both central and regional), non-governmental organizations, private sector, and local community. These results can further provide additional information for the development of the Bali Provincial spatial plan.

What was your biggest lesson learned during the OHI process?

As the world’s largest island country, Indonesia is home to a vast amount of marine and fisheries resources, which present challenges for planning and management. The OHI process has provided a very good perspective of the status of marine resources in Bali. This approach provides new insights into the conditions and actions that need to be taken to protect these ocean resources and promote sustainable utilization.

I Made Iwan Dewantama

Affiliation: Bali Island Manager, Conservation International Indonesia

What is your role on the OHI+ Bali team? Lead program manager for OHI+ Bali

What was your contribution to the Bali OHI+ assessment and what was the importance of this component?

Since the Bali OHI+ assessment is a pilot study of OHI within Indonesia, my role is to ensure the assessment properly proceeds with a collaborative approach. I have been involved in making decisions at every step of the process, from data included to reference points to partners to engage with.

How will the results of the assessment be used?

The assessment highlighted the need for better data availability and sustainable management of Bali’s ocean. With these results, the next step is to build ownership within the Bali government to continue the assessment and develop the OHI+ Bali Impact Plan, which will share recommendations for management improvements with stakeholders.

What was your biggest lesson learned during the OHI process?

OHI is a new tool for Bali and it allowed us to understand the ocean more comprehensively. The biggest thing I learned through OHI is the process is just as important as the end result. It helps you think about management targets and the best data to represent them, and also provides a common ground for partners to talk about their priorities.

Teja A. Wibawa

Affiliation: Research Scientist, Institute for Marine Research and Observation

What is your role on the OHI+ Bali team? Lead scientist for Bali OHI+ Toolbox

What was your contribution to the Bali OHI+ assessment and what was the importance of this component?

The OHI Bali assessment is a collaborative research endeavor that involves various research institutes, NGOs, universities, and local government institutions. Each partner contributed data to measure the regional OHI Bali score. I am responsible for preparing these data that feed into the Toolbox, determining the models to use in score calculations, and writing R code for the Bali OHI+ assessment. Adding local data to the OHI analysis helps local governments assess their ocean health. While the data type and availability varies from region to region, OHI is flexible and an attractive tool for local governments to use their best available and reliable data to measure status of their ocean.

What was the most interesting result of the data analysis? Were any of the results surprising?

The artisanal fishing opportunity (AO) analysis was the most interesting. I think most of marine fish in the 4 nautical mile zone off the coast of Bali are captured by artisanal fisherman. However, these activities are not well documented and recorded. It’s really hard to find reliable artisanal fish production over the region.

In this OHI regional calculation, a scientific approach was established that estimates artisanal fish production for each Bali’s subregions. I realized this approach needs to be improved, particularly when reliable artisanal fishing datasets become available, but for this version I feel confident with the AO results.

What part of your work are you most proud of?

It is my honor to be part of a team that has great awareness of the benefits the ocean provides communities. I am also proud the Bali regional assessment is the first time an OHI regional assessment has been conducted in Indonesian waters. This means our work can serve as a reference for other Indonesian provinces in the future.

I Gede Sudiarta

Affiliation: Lecturer in Water Resources Management Study Program, Faculty of Agriculture, Warmadewa University, Denpasar

What is your role on the OHI+ Bali team? Member of the technical team

What was your contribution to the Bali OHI+ assessment and what was the importance of this component?

As an academic, I help ensure data validity and that OHI+ Bali is based on sound science. I identified sources of coastal and marine livelihoods data, which is an important factor in sustainable coastal and marine management. I helped find and gain access to data owned by various parties and relevant agencies, which was all integrated together to help inform the sustainable management of Bali marine resources.

Do you have previous experience with other indicators?

I have been involved in several marine health indexing activities with different models and research partners. One important aspect of marine and coastal health indices is that they are conveyed in a way that is easily understood by the community. The OHI program seems to be able to fulfill this well since it is quite dynamic in receiving data, and discussions can be carried out within the local Balinese context. I am optimistic that OHI+ Bali will provide good benefits for the health of the Bali Sea and Coast.