Jakarta (ANTARA) - Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, and several foreign ambassadors recently carried out coral reef transplantation at Nusa Dua beach, Bali, according to a press statement issued here on Saturday.

During the event, Pandjaitan also promoted the government's National Economic Recovery (PEN) program, which includes labor-intensive coral reef restoration activities.

"The coral reef restoration program, apart from bringing positive benefits to the environment, has also provided benefits to Balinese people who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those living in coastal areas," he said while speaking on ‘Planting Coral Reefs for a Sustainable Blue Economy’ at the Bali Investment Forum in Bali on Friday (March 26, 2021).

Pandjaitan's deputy for maritime resources coordination, Safri Burhanuddin, Bali Governor Wayan Koster, the Canadian Ambassador to Indonesia, the Italian Ambassador, the Swiss Ambassador, the Japanese Ambassador, the Dutch Deputy Ambassador, and the Russian Deputy Ambassador were also present at the transplantation event.

The labor-intensive coral reef restoration program has been able to provide jobs to more than 10,171 people affected by COVID-19, especially people who previously worked in the tourism and marine sectors, the minister said.

"And this program has run for four months from October, 2020 to January, 2021, funded by a State Budget (APBN) of Rp111.2 billion, and the area to be restored has reached 74.3 hectares," he said.

The coral reef restoration program is planned to be continued in 2021 in three Super Priority Tourist Destinations (DPSP) and six Marine Tourism and Marine Conservation Destinations.

Indonesia has a vast variety of coral reefs, spread over an area of 25 thousand square kilometers, or around 10 percent of the world's coral reefs, spanning 284,300 square kilometers.

Besides, Indonesia has the highest number of coral reef species on the planet. Of the 845 coral reef species in the world, Indonesia is home to 569 species belonging to 82 families and 15 tribes.

Coral reefs are not just beautiful, but are also crucial for maintaining the food supply of millions of people living along the coasts all over the world, the minister said.

Besides, coral reef fisheries are a critical source of protein for tens of millions of people, and coral reef tourism is a significant source of foreign exchange for Indonesia, he added.

Biologically diverse coral reefs are also vital for protecting the shoreline of the country's low-lying islands, he said. (INE)

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Translator: Ade Irma J, Fardah
Editor: Suharto
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