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An Opportunity for Growth and Prosperity in Indonesia’s Waters

Only about 1% of the world’s oceans have been designated as protected. This leaves most marine life vulnerable to destructive fishing practices, overfishing, pollution, development and climate change. These threats not only endanger the marine environment, but also jeopardize the livelihoods of local communities.

The Sunda Banda Seacape in eastern Indonesia includes a wide variety of communities with diverse cultural backgrounds and religious beliefs, many of whom rely on the ocean for their livelihoods and sustenance. The seascape also provides critical habitat for many marine species, especially critically endangered leatherback turtles. These magnificent animals weigh up to 2,000 pounds and rely on the sandy beaches for their nesting grounds.

WWF is working with the Indonesian Government to create a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Sunda Banda Seascape. This network of MPAs will span thousands of square miles and help protect the ocean environment. It will shelter endangered species and benefit local communities by promoting healthy commercial fish populations and tourism.

“These waters provide important migratory routes for several species of whale and vital fish populations for local peoples,” explains Catherine Plume, managing director for WWF’s Coral Triangle Program.

“These waters provide important migratory routes for several species of whale and vital fish populations for local peoples.”

Catherine Plume
Managing Director, Coral Triangle Program

Why Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) Matter

For MPAs to be successful, it is important that communities understand why MPAs need to be created. Support and management of MPAs by local peoples is critical for their long-term success. For example, on the island of Kei Kecil in the Sunda Banda Seascape, WWF is working with four formerly warring kingdoms to:

  • limit the harvest of the critically endangered leatherback turtle
  • stop the use of dynamite and cyanide for fishing, which damage coral reefs and reduce fish populations
  • ensure community buy-in and participation in marine protected area management

Approximately 30 percent of the residents on this island live in poverty, making about 50 cents a day. WWF will continue to work to improve the health of the waters around this island, which will benefit the people of Kei Kecil over the long term.

Celebrating 50 Years of Conservation Work

WWF’s Indonesia team is celebrating 50 years of conservation work on land and at sea across the massive archipelago that spans an area greater than the continental United States. A significant part of this work is being implemented in the Coral Triangle, a marine area located in the western Pacific Ocean which includes the waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor Leste.

The Coral Triangle has the richest marine biodiversity on Earth and contains:

  • seventy-six percent of known coral species and more than 3,000 fish species
  • six of the seven species of marine turtles
  • many species of whales, dolphins and sharks
  • an abundant tuna population that supplies markets worldwide

More than 120 million people rely on these marine resources for food and livelihoods. Yet this plentiful marine area is under more pressure than ever before.

With WWF’s experience in conservation work, input from local communities, support from partners and the Indonesian government, WWF anticipates that the marine environment and local villages, kingdoms and communities will grow and prosper—sustainably—in the Sunda Banda Seascape and within the greater Coral Triangle region.

  • Reef and island in Indonesia

    Two decades of marine conservation

    WWF’s Indonesia team started its marine program in 1993 and since then has been instrumental in designing and establishing marine protected areas, developing legislation to protect sea turtles, and establishing regular reef monitoring throughout the archipelago. We also have worked with the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries to promote co-management of marine and coastal resources and advance research in the Sulu-Sulawesi and Sunda Banda seascapes, critical marine areas in Indonesia.

  • Fishermen sorting tuna in Indonesia

    Commitment for the Coral Triangle

    In 2009, the leaders of the six countries that make up the Coral Triangle committed to protect their shared waters and safeguard the livelihoods of the millions of people in the region who depend on marine resources. WWF is leading a consortium of partners, including The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International, to create a network of marine protected areas, implement an ecosystem based approach to fisheries management, and develop climate change adaptation strategies across the Coral Triangle. In Indonesia, this work has been expanded to include partnerships with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Coral Triangle Center.

  • Huma for fishermen

    Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)

    Wakatobi National Park, an important marine protected area (MPA) in Indonesia, is over 5,000 square miles (roughly the size of Connecticut) and was established in 1996. Wakatobi encompasses several islands and anchors a series of MPAs off the southeast coast of Sulawesi. WWF is working with partners and local communities to keep this area healthy and thriving. Local Wakatobi fishers have formed a community-based organization, KOMUNTO, to run their fisheries sustainably and participate in managing the National Park.

  • Green Turtle

    Marine turtle conservation

    In 2006, WWF helped set up the Turtle Conservation and Education Centre in Bali. This community center helps raise awareness about sea turtles and provides an alternative source of income for local residents who formerly hunted turtles. Since its inception, more than 50,000 turtle hatchlings have been released by the education center including olive ridley turtles, green turtles and hawksbill turtles. WWF helps local communities monitor and protect nesting beaches and track turtles by satellite to determine migration and foraging patterns. We also raise awareness about the importance of turtles in the marine ecosystem and develop partnerships with religious leaders to control the use of turtles in religious ceremonies.

  • Hook and line fishermen in Indonesia

    Promoting Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture

    WWF has partnered with the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries and the private sector to help move the fishing industry to more sustainable practices, and hopefully certification by the Marine Stewardship Council. WWF is working with suppliers to implement tuna fishery improvement plans and with buyers to track chain of custody and support sustainable sourcing. WWF is also working to connect live reef fish suppliers who are implementing best management practices to buyers who will pay a premium for sustainably sourced fish and aquaculture products such as shrimp.

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