"The National Plan of Action contians strategies, activities, indicators, outputs, location, time, persons in charge and related work units in the conservation of whale sharks in Indonesia," Tb. Haeru Rahayu, the ministry's Director General of Marine Space Management said in a press release here on Sunday.
Of the 117 species of sharks existing in Indonesia, whale sharks are the only type of sharks that have been fully protected since 2013 through the Decree of the Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia Number 18 / KEPMEN-KP / 2013, according to him.
"Determining the protection status only is not enough. It requires sustainable, planned, and measurable conservation efforts for whale sharks. Therefore, a strategy and action plan for whale shark conservation in Indonesia is needed," he said.
Rahayu hoped the Whale Shark Conservation National Plan of Action would not remain on paper, but it must be carried out seriously by relevant parties, especially by the agencies responsible for the activity, in order to improve the condition of whale sharks in the wild in the next five years.
"The KKP ministry will evaluate the implementation of the National Plan of Action every year," he said.
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The conserving of sharks and rays is crucial because they are prone to extinction, despite the fact that the presence of these two species indicates that the sea water is healthy.
"The presence of this type of fish in waters is one of the key indicators of marine health," he said.
The ministry also invites various stakeholders to work together to conserve sharks and rays in Indonesia.
Realizing the importance of sharks and rays, the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries has included sharks and rays in 20 species of fish that will be targeted for national conservation in 2020-2024, he added.
Whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) are the largest shark, and in fact largest of any fishes alive today. They feed on plankton and travel large distances to find.
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