coral-reef-florida.jpgA migration route for almost half the world’s whale species which contains vast amounts of rare coral will be preserved in the Savu Sea within the borders of the newest and largest marine park in Southeast Asia.

The reserve will be set up within the area known as the Coral Triangle with the help of The Nature Conservancy and WWF to lead efforts in stamping out illegal practices such as dynamite and cyanide fishing, Indonesia’s fisheries minister announced this week.

Local marine life is critical to the livelihoods and food security of more than 120 million people who depend on the continued health of the ecosystem. The region supports the largest tuna fisheries in the world, generating billions of dollars in global income every year. Protecting the tuna spawning grounds should help boost fish stocks. Healthy reef systems also help buffer coastal communities from severe storms and tsunamis.

336 species of fish live in the Savu Sea in eastern Indonesia. Tourism activities and fishing by locals in the new Savu Marine National Park will be allowed but restricted to certain areas.

The biologically diverse Coral Triangle network is bounded by Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, East Timor and the Solomon Islands, six nations that came together this week at the World Ocean Conference in Manado, Sulawesi, to sign a formal plan for long-term conservation. Presidents and Prime Ministers of the countries formally adopted one of the most comprehensive and specific plans for ocean conservation.

Conservation International’s Chairman and CEO, Peter Seligmann, said “in 30 years of conservation work, I have never seen anything like this; six leaders signing a commitment to protect their marine resources for the well-being of their citizens and future generations. We extend our deepest congratulations and commit to supporting these nations as they embark on this unprecedented global initiative to secure human livelihoods and adapt to climate change through the conservation of their individual and shared marine heritage.”

Covering only 2% of the world’s ocean, the Coral Triangle contains 76% of all known coral species. The Coral Triangle is defined as the seas in and around the borders of these six countries. It contains more than 600 coral species, and is recognized by scientists as the center of marine life abundance and diversity on the planet. It is sometimes referred to as the “Amazon of the Seas”.

Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy and WWF are working together with other NGOs, bi- and multi-lateral agencies and governments around the world to conserve the marine treasures and resources of the Coral Triangle for the benefit of all.

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