2013 Coral Triangle Day: The Marine Conservation Momentum

Jakarta, June 9, 2013 (ANTARA) -- The date of June 9 has been designated as The Coral  Triangle Day as agreed in 3rd ministerial meeting of member countries of CTI (Coral Triangle Initiative) in Kuala Lumpur in 2012 ago. This proposal inititated by the Indonesian government is considered to be very strategic, because through this coral reef commemoration day, increasing the public awareness for the marine environment. The 2013 Coral Triangle Day celebration was held simultaneously in six CTI member countries, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Timor Leste. "Today, we commemorate the Coral Triangle Day with the theme "Saving the Marine ecosystem through the Marine Coastal Clean-up Program". Through this opportunity, I would like to reaffirm our commitment to continue being active in implementing the Coral Triangle concept as well as absorbing the messages reminding us of the importance of managing the coastal and marine areas in a sustainable manner," This was conveyed by the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Sharif C. Indonesia Sutardjo, when opening the Coral Triangle Day, in Mataram Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, Sunday, June 9.

     Sharif explained, The Coral Triangle Day commemoration day is conducted simultaneously in all member states CTI both before, during and after June 9. To date, more than 54 diverse activities that have been, being and will be done throughout the Coral Triangle regions to commemorate the Day. All activities reported to CTI Regional Secretariat in Jakarta, such as the talk show program in  Cebu,Philippines; beach clean-up in Minahasa, Indonesia; renewable marine energy-based symposium in Putrajaya, Malaysia; the release of turtles on Ela Beach, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; CTI gallery exhibition in Honiara, Solomon Islands; and marine biodiversity workshop in Timor Leste. The Indonesian Coral Triangle Day activities were all focused in Mataram, Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, precisely on the west coast of Mataram stretching from Bintaro/Ampenan beach on the north to Loang Baloq Tanjung Karang on the south. "We chose West Nusa Tenggara as it's considered as one of the main region's tourism destinations for its natural beauty, especially its treasure of the coral reef ecosystems. Additionally, Mataram already has an integrated waste management called Waste Bank Society (BSM) Mataram," said Sharif.

     The Minister continues, the Coral Triangle (CT) region, spans nearly 6 million kilometers in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific. The region has a high ecosystem biodiversity consisting of more than 500 species of coral reef, 3,000 species of fish, and an immensely vast mangrove forest. When a line is drawn spanning the region, it shows as if the region shapes a triangular-shaped, that's why it is referred to as the coral triangle region. Unfortunately, the sustainability of the ecosystem of the coral triangle region is endangered. Among them, the increasing of the anthropogenic entering the waters due to human activity. Responding these issues, the member countries located in the coral triangle region, namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, as well as the United States and Australia are to formulate a new initiative of the marine resource management, namely Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF). "CTI-CFF is a multilateral partnership aiming to secure the marine and coastal resources in the Region. Among them is to establish a complete and functioning system of Marine Protected Areas in the Coral Triangle region," explained Sharif.

The Beach and Marine Clean-up Movement

     Sharif added, the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) partners with the government of West Nusa Tenggara and NGOs as well as the various elements of the communities to hold a Beach and Marine Clean-up Movement (BMCM) on Ampenan, Bintaro, and Loang Beams / Tanjung Karang Beaches. The activity aims to realize a clean and healthy coastal and marine environment to support marine biota conservation. This activity is a response to the damage and the decrease coastal and marine ecosystem diversity  caused by waste pollution. This activity is expected to arouse public awareness of the waste management importance for the sustainability of marine ecosystem. "This program is another manifestation of our commitments to rise the public awareness to be more active in coastal and marine resources conservation actions. This activity also confirmed the readiness of Indonesia to be the lead the marine conservation actions in the Coral Triangle region," underlined Sharif.

     On the same date, in Jakarta, the Ministry will organize the "Save Our Sharks" campaign to raise the shark protection issue in Indonesia. This activity invites the public to fill out an online petition, as well asand provide education on the importance of protecting sharks for the marine food source sustainability. Moreover, this kind of activity can raise public awareness more effectively and efficiently in order to preserve and conserve the fisheries and marine resources in the Coral Triangle region. Another program is the awareness raising of the disasters, coastal vegetation, and carnival mitigations involving 100 fishing boat, a range of competitions, and art parades. "The Coral Triangle commemoration day is expected to be an exceptional manifestation of us on the management of the effective, efficient and sustainable marine natural resources," said Sharif.

     In addition to launching the Coral Triangle Day, the Minister also held a series of working visits in West Nusa Tenggara province., such as the funding to various MMAF's programs in NTB province amounting Rp. 34.9 billion. Rp 8.9 billion of the funding is mainly to support the PUGAR program of Directorate General of Marine, Coastal and Small Islands in the area of East Lombok, Bima, Bima City, Sumbawa and West Lombok. The funding was also addressed to some districts / cities in West Nusa Tenggara through the Fisheries Directorate General for PUMP program, the Health Card, the Fishermen card and Inka Mina, worth Rp. 18.8 billion. Furthermore, the Directorate General of Aquaculture donated 65 aquaculture packages per group. In addition to funding assistance, the Ministry through the MMAF's HR Agency also provided education and counseling, entrepreneurial activities, seaweed management training, decorative freshwater fish training and other programs worth Rp. 2.28 billion. The Directorate General of the Fishery Products Processing and Marketing also provided the local community with marketing training, the management of the cold chain system in the fishery stations and fish processing centers.