Friday, March 29, 2013

Latest update from the national stranding network

It was approaching 9 pm, and we were still in the meeting room in Bogor

Being a developing country with one of the longest coastlines in the world, myriad human activities and about 35 species of cetaceans and one species of sirenian, Indonesia is a country with high risk of stranding events. Data from showed 102 stranding events since 2000-2012; about half of them were unidentified species. Considering Indonesia’s coastline length (over 80,000 km) this number is more likely to be an underestimation than an overestimation. However, until late 2012, Indonesia had no national stranding committee or any action plans to mitigate, reduce or manage stranding events. The stranding of 48 short-finned pilot whales (Globicephala macrorhynchus) in East Nusa Tenggara Province was a wake-up call for the government to work on the overdue stranding protocol and network. In November 2012, the Ministry of Marine and Fisheries Affairs officially formed a national committee to compose the national stranding protocol and establish the national stranding network. 

On Thursday, 21 March 2013 (after 1.5 days of long meeting in Bogor, hauled till past 9pm...), the national committee has finished the last stranding protocol meeting which produced the final draft of the protocol. The protocol will be published in April 2013 and will be distributed to all provinces in the country. At the same meeting, the committee also discussed the organizational structure of the national stranding network. The national structure will have five sections: 1) data and information; 2) science; 3) live-rescue; 4) post-mortem investigation; and 5) policy recommendations. The live-rescue section will coordinate local stranding networks around the Archipelago. 

Below is the tentative structure of the network. Credit to the national stranding committee, notably Sarminto, Pak Didi, Bu Cora, Kimpul, Tanty, Mira, Iben, Efin, Shinta, Yudha, Bowo and myself. I actually debated with myself whether to show this structure online or not. But then, it is not a classified material. Plus, it would be nice to hear your feedback before we finalise this structure. More thinking heads are better than a few. 

To better coordinate in-country rescue efforts, the committee has also formed seven working nodes in Indonesia: Sumatra, Bali, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, East Nusa Tenggara, and Papua (see above). 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). During those meetings, first responder trainings will also be given as part of the network action plans. A nation-wide veterinary training will be tentatively conducted before the year end to complement first responder trainings. Contact me for further information.

Update 30 March 2013:
Another version of this article is available at the IUCN Cetacean Specialist Group website, credit to Gill Braulik.

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