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Indonesia Faces Daunting Task of Protecting Marine Resources

Indonesia Faces Daunting Task of Protecting Marine Resources

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A protected mangrove habitat in Indonesia (ADB Photo Library)

A protected mangrove habitat in Indonesia (ADB Photo Library)

The Government of Indonesia continues to face a number of challenges in protecting and preserving its valuable marine protected areas (MPAs), a report from The Economist said.

The MPAs are important for the country’s fishery industries and for the millions of fishers and coastal communities that depend on these areas for livelihood.

But climate change and warming oceans, overfishing and destructive fishing practices, along with pollution from communities and industries, threaten the fragile ecosystems that support underwater life, the report said.

Addressing these challenges becomes even more important considering the economic value of the industry and the government’s target of increasing its fish exports in 2014. In 2012, Indonesia’s fisheries export reached $3.9 billion, according to the report.

Such commercial pressures mean that simply telling governments to restrict fishing does not work, and that fisheries will be sustainable only if big parts of the ocean are protected, said Lida Pet-Soede of the WWF as quoted by The Economist.

The government has begun taking the right steps by asking the other member countries of the Coral Triangle (Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste) to join a regional conservation initiative in 2007.

In 2009, the countries agreed on an action plan to manage marine resources by establishing their respective MPAs.

Indonesia has established MPAs covering some 16 million hectares, and by 2020 there are plans to increase protected areas to 20 million hectares.

Like other governments, Indonesia is hopeful that establishing more MPAs will allow it to address the challenge of protecting and preserving its valuable marine resources.

The Asian Development Bank and other nongovernment organizations are currently extending support for the preservation and protection of the Coral Triangle.

(Story courtesy of The Economist)

Avatar of Coral Triangle Written by Coral Triangle

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