Bunaken was established as a National Park in 1991. The National Park includes the islands of Bunaken, Manado Tua, Mantehage, Siladen, Nain and part of Arakan Wowontulap and covers a total area of 89.065 ha. As a trial, the Bunaken National Park is managed by a collaborative management structure that represents park authorities, local communities, private sector, university, and local government agencies. The Natural Resource Management project has been the main catalyst and supporter for Bunaken management since 1991.
For WWF, Bunaken National Park is an anchor site for the Sulu Sulawesi Marine Eco-region Action Plan. WWF provides support for participatory enforcement and patrol, which resulted in significant reduction of blast fishing. Furthermore, WWF conducted trainings for identification and monitoring of fish spawning aggregation sites or SPAGS. High-valued fish species such as groupers and napoleon wrasse aggregate for reproductive activities. If these spawning sites are well-protected these species are better protected against population collapse. Also, WWF has worked with a local community youth group, the Team Raja Laut , to establish community-based fisheries monitoring and -education.
WWF's future involvement with Bunaken management will include:
- Further improving fisheries management through regular monitoring of fish stocks and indicator species and expansion of patrolling and enforcement within Bunaken National Marine Park and adjacent areas.
- Testing the application of IUCN MPA management effectiveness guidelines, and using lessons learned to develop conservation strategies for the larger North Sulawesi province. This includes integration of tourism development plans, testing of sustainable financing mechanisms for other parts of North Sulawesi.