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World Oceans Day: Indonesia is Home to the World's Coral Reefs

Indonesia is one of the archipelagic countries that has a vast seascape in the world. According to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), Indonesia has 3,257,357 square kilometers of sea. The sea that stretches across the country has high biodiversity that must be protected from destructive fisheries activities.

In Indonesia, there are several areas identified as marine corridors. These corridors are priority areas for conservation, as they serve as habitats for biodiversity as well as important migratory routes for marine animals. According to the Wallacea Ecosystem Profile released by Burung Indonesia and the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), marine corridors such as Solor-Alor, Togean-Banggai, South Sulawesi, Pangkajene Islands, North Sulawesi, and Buru Waters have very high biodiversity values.

Burung Indonesia's Wallacea Program Manager, Wahyu Teguh Prawira, said that Indonesia, as one of the countries in the Coral Triangle, is home to 76 percent of the world's coral reef species. Not only that, this region also has 15 regional endemic coral species and 41 Asian regional endemic coral species.

So, according to him, the protection of Indonesia's seas is very important. This is because marine waters often encounter problems such as illegal fishing, oil spills, coral bleaching, climate change, and garbage. If these problems continue to occur, it will cause problems for biodiversity and the economy.

Banggai Cardinalfish, one of Indonesia's endemic fish (Photo: Burung Indonesia/Ahmad Syauqi)

"As a maritime country, the marine sector contributes to coastal economic affairs, both at the regional, national and international levels," he said.

According to him, marine protection and conservation efforts are a responsibility that must be carried out by various parties such as the government, civil society organizations, and community groups. Unsustainable fishing practices such as the use of bombs and trawls must be stopped.

In not only damage to fish and their habitats, destructive fishing also has a significant impact on birds, especially seabirds. Unhealthy marine conditions will lead to a decline in fish populations, which are a source of food for birds. In addition, the loss of coral reefs due to bombing will affect birds that depend on the ecosystem in that place. There are also cases of birds being trapped by fishermen's fishing gear such as nets, causing injuries and even death to the birds.

Therefore, it is important to protect marine ecosystems from the community level to law enforcement. Sustainable fisheries practices also contribute to the preservation and conservation of marine waters in Indonesia.