The archipelago contains 18% of the world's coral reefs, over 500 species of coral (76% of the world's coral species) and 2,500 species of fish, including 37% of the world's coral reef fish species. These coral reefs are among the most resilient to climate change. A recent global assessment identified 23 of Indonesia's reef systems to be among the 83 most likely to have heightened chances of surviving projected climate change impacts. Indonesia is the second largest fisheries producer in the world, with an estimated 12 million people involved in the fisheries sector, which provides over half of the country's animal-based protein, making it essential for human nutrition and well-being.
Overfishing is one of the biggest threats to resources and biodiversity. Besides, destructive fishing also severely impacts habitats and species and lead to excessive bycatch and the loss and degradation of coral reefs, which can lead to the loss of ecosystem functions and species that are important to people, especially coastal communities.
A range of barriers exist that undermine efforts to protect marine habitats and species and ensure that fisheries are sustainable in Indonesia. Proposed MPAs need a zonation plan before they can be legally established. Once designated, they require strong governance and institutional management capacity, sufficient financial resources, effective monitoring, and robust evaluations of management effectiveness, which require considerable efforts.
Our Marine Program is being implemented to support the Governments in priority seascapes in six locations: Karimunjawa and Taka Bonerate national parks and Aceh, West Nusa Tenggara, North Sulawesi, and North Maluku provinces. There are also transnational opportunities to extend our work across the Sulu-Sulawesi Sea. Our core approach falls under five main themes: creating effective MPAs; sustainable fisheries management; ‘Blue Health’; conservation of ETP species; and sustainable financing. These are underpinned by strong science, with surveying and monitoring forming the foundation of our work. Baseline ecological and socio-economic conditions inform interventions, and performance is evaluated and adapted based on subsequent monitoring.