West Lombok (ANTARA) - The National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) said it ensures a balance in marine conservation management by considering both economic and ecological aspects.

"The water conservation area, which has been designated by the government, must be able to benefit the people by improving the economy and enhancing the welfare of locals," said Sri Yanti, Bappenas' Director of Marine Affairs and Fisheries.

During the closing of the Coremap-CTI Program in West Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, on Thursday, she stated that the government will grant access to tourists who wish to visit Indonesia's water conservation area.

Furthermore, supporting facilities will be consistently added to create an attractive place that will pique tourist interest.

Capitalizing on the water conservation area is part of the government's effort to strike a balance between the economic and ecological aspects, Yanti added.

She cited some successful water conservation areas in the Lesser Sunda Islands, such as Nusa Penida in Bali and Gili Matra and Gili Balu in West Nusa Tenggara, which can serve as examples of how to manage such areas.

According to her, these three water conservation areas have become popular tourist destinations while still maintaining the ecosystem's condition.

She mentioned that those involved in managing the areas are offering tourism packages and actively participating in coral and mangrove rehabilitation.

By doing so, people can generate income from tourism businesses, and the environmental preservation efforts can be supported by tourists, she explained.

"The National Water Conservation Area, like Gili Matra, can serve as an example for other conservation areas in managing existing potential in a balanced manner," Yanti said.

She referred to data from the Finance Ministry, which indicates that the economic value of the coral reefs in Gili Matra is estimated at Rp34.74 billion (approximately US$2.3 million) per hectare per year.

Yanti also informed that from March 2022 to August 2023, the agency has been implementing the Coremap-CTI Project to rehabilitate coral reefs, covering 2,954 hectares of land in Gili Matra.

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Translator: Sugiharto Purnama, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Anton Santoso
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