Friday, December 30, 2016

New paper on the sustainability of dolphin watching industries in Asia

The title of our new paper

Closing this 2016, my colleagues and I are very happy to announce the publication of our collaborative paper on the sustainability of dolphin watching tourism in Asia in the Journal of Sustainable Tourism. The citation and abstract are below. We have also written a piece in The Conversation (lead author Gerard E. Ryan) here.

Video Abstract - A rapid assessment of wildlife tourism risk posed to cetaceans in Asia from Taylor & Francis on Vimeo.

Bapak, Ibu, rekan kerja sekalian, dengan bahagia dan lega saya sampaikan peer-reviewed publication berikut ini tentang wisata lumba-lumba di Asia yang barusan dimuat di Journal of Sustainable Tourism. Kami juga sudah menuliskan satu artikel di The Conversation (penulis utama Gerard E. Ryan) di tautan ini.

Abstract and citations are below. Abstrak dan sitiran di bawah ini.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The US National Marine Animal Health and Stranding Response Conference (September 2016)

The Indonesian country update poster
The US National Marine Animal Health and Stranding Response Conference that I attended in early September (6-9 Sept 2016) was not the first of its kind that I attended at a national level, but it was certainly the most impressive one. My sincere thanks to International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) for their generous contributions so that I could attend this event, and for NOAA for extending the invitation to me.

The conference enabled me to learn many things to apply to Indonesia’s own national marine mammal stranding network. The followings are lessons I learned during some sessions of the conference. Granted, I couldn’t attend all sessions as much as I wanted to. For instance, given my limited medical/veterinarian knowledge, I only attended some veterinary sessions that my Indonesian vet colleagues would have not missed for the world. However, what I’ve learned from the sessions I did attend was a treasure. The followings are things that I learned the most during the conference, not necessarily in the order of magnitude nor importance. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

BBC Earth article on my work in Lovina

The spinner dolphins in Lovina (Mustika@JCU)

BBC Earth correspondent Lesley Evans Ogden interviewed me last December in San Francisco during the 21st Biennial Conference on the Biology of Marine Mammals. The interview is now at the BBC Earth website here. I copy and paste the part that has my research below, but the article covers many other aspects of whale watching from other researchers, so it's a really good read. 

Putu Mustika, an adjunct researcher at James Cook University in Australia, and co-founder of the non-profit Cetacean Sirenia Indonesia, has also been exploring how dolphins react to being closely watched by humans in boats. It is a research area she was alerted to by journalists concerned by the practice of boats chasing dolphins.
For the spinner dolphins she studies in Lovina, North Bali, there is, as yet, no formal protocol for marine mammal watching. As a result, it is not uncommon for there to be more dolphin-watching boats than dolphins.

Friday, March 18, 2016

IORA whale and dolphin watching workshop

I was invited to the beautiful Sri Lanka last February to attend IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association) whale and dolphin watching workshop. This post is basically my report to the IORA Indonesia Secretariat, slightly modified for this post. Special thanks to Lars Bejder of Murdoch Uni who has recommended my participation, IORA Indonesia who has elected me as an Indonesian rep, the Australian Govt (the Department of Environment) for funding the whole event, International Whaling Commission as the amazing co-facilitator, and the Sri Lanka Institute of Policy Studies for being a great host. I will visit Sri Lanka again one day... seven days is not enough...

On 24-26 February 2016, a regional IORA workshop on sustainable whale and dolphin watching was conducted in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Titled “Building sustainable whale and dolphin watching tourism in the Indian Ocean region”, the workshop was based on IORA’s goal, i.e., “to promote the sustained growth and balanced development of the region and of the Member States” and at least one of IORA’s six priority areas (i.e., tourism and cultural exchanges)(IORA 2015a). As of 2015, IORA has also put emphasize on the Blue Economy concept. 

Indonesia's National Plan of Action for the Cetaceans

Just a short post to inform you all that Indonesia (the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries) has released its National Plan of Action for the Conservation of Cetaceans. The document is still in Indonesian language. I have the English version of the earlier draft (because I was one of the authors), but we will need time (and funding, I suppose) to translate it into English. Based on the 2002-2010 Conservation Action Plan for the World's Cetaceans (Reeves et al 2003), the document contains strategies to address unsustainable anthropogenic activities (bycatch, blast fishing, direct catch, tourism in the wild, captivity, marine debris, vessel strikes, and competition with fisheries) and disturbance to cetacean habitats (coastal and riverine development, commercial and military sonar, chemical pollution, biotoxin and climate change). The national marine mammal stranding network is also mentioned as one of the action plans. Click here for the document in Indonesian language. (terjemahan bahasa Indonesia di bawah break)

Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year notes for the past semester

A Bryde's whale (Balaenoptera edeni) we encountered off the Uluwatu Temple, Bali, November 2015

Since this is the last day of the year, I thought I’ll just write myself some pointers of what I did during the second semester of 2015. Starting with July-August where my colleagues and I were trying to set up CETASI, real pain in the admin. I have to credit Yanti Purnomo as the star in navigating the bureaucratic waters in Indonesia, but Adityo Setiawan, Jaya Ratha and Erdi Lazuardi also provided tremendous support.

August saw me returning to Bali for the Cetacean National Plan of Action (NPOA) meeting. It was a productive meeting; I assisted WWF Indonesia and the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries to build up the early version of the document. So far, the document includes issues such as bycatch, tourism, seismic and acoustic, ocean noise, alternative livelihood, captivity and Marine Mammal Protected Areas. Kudos to Sarminto Hadi, Miasto Yudha and team for pulling off the meeting. We also had our first stranding training workshop for the expatriates in Bali at Seminyak with Whale Stranding Indonesia and Soul Surf Project Bali. Well, not just for the expats, for we also had local participants (and a girl flying from Sabah Malaysia just for this training!), but it was definitely the first English-speaking training that I delivered, and I actually enjoyed it. The CETASI also had our first annual meeting (at my father’s place in Bali, actually), and we carry with us a list of homework to be done... which hasn’t all been done...(palm/face).

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Update on the CETASI, stranding website, and NPOA

Humpback whale, Bali, 2 Oct 2007, by Made Sujana (Tanah Lot Authority)

Where have I been for the last six months?? Sorry for the slow update... But I've been swirling inside the bureaucratic world of NGO registration in Indonesia. But anyway, after about six months of navigating the bureaucratic waters of Indonesia, I'm happy to announce that the CETASI (Cetacean Sirenian Indonesia) has been approved by the government, and we are now a registered NGO in Indonesia. Yay!

Our website is online already;, but I'm planning to move it to another domain registrar because my current registrar (GoDaddy) is getting a bit too pricey. I also need to add ~ $10 per year per site (I have three extensions: .com, .net and .org) if I want my personal information (e.g., address, email and even phone number!) kept secret from the prying online world. That's too much of a price, and hence it will be byebye GoDaddy soon... 

Anyway... the second news is that we've been doing a facelift to the main marine mammal stranding website ( It now includes a more comprehensive database, complete with graphs and filtering system. it will also has a map, but I need to upgrade the package first, so it might have to wait for a few months. So far though, I'm very happy with our database provider (Knack). It's easy to use even for HTML-haters like me, the agents are friendly, embedding to the main website is also easy. I registered our stranding website with Namecheap (very happy about the service) and used Weebly for the web-design and hosting (again, very happy, totally recommended!). I've linked the main website with the new interface just now. The stranding website is still down by the time I post this article, but I hope in 24 hours the website is up and running again.