The Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape is home to the world’s richest marine environments, spanning around 900,000 square kilometers of the waters between Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines. With new species being discovered all the time, it hosts unmatched biodiversity that provides food, shelter, income, recreation and climate regulation to approximately 40 million people living along its coasts and to the rest of the world, sustaining life and ensuring living seas for generations. The Seascape is home to coral reefs, seagrass meadows and mangrove forests, which support fishes, sea turtles, dolphins, whales, sharks and rays.
However, marine species and habitats continue to be threatened by overfishing, pollution, destructive fishing practices, coastal development and sedimentation. In addition, livelihoods are threatened as commercial fishing increases and fish stocks decline, leaving fewer fish for local consumption. These threats put tremendous pressure on the Seascape’s fragile marine ecosystems.
Making a Difference
Conservation International and our Seascape partners have fostered a more than 200 percent increase in the total protected marine area in the SSS conservation corridors, and facilitated the development of governance and institutional mechanisms that are now leading examples of how to deliver marine conservation at scale. The increase in marine protected area (MPA) coverage — combined with improved management, strengthened enforcement, enhanced stakeholder capacity, innovative partnerships and the development of ecotourism — has significantly improved the sustainable management of the Seascape’s marine resources, laying the groundwork for even greater conservation results in the future.
Local communities are feeling the positive effects of marine conservation, and ecosystems are showing signs of recovery. For example, increased fish catch has led to increased household incomes. The Seascape has also fostered significant increases in government stewardship and resource allocation for marine conservation and enforcement, with local governments increasing budgets to enforce fisheries and MPA regulations, and politicians and community members expressing strong support.
To secure natural resources and human well-being benefits by establishing effective Seascape-wide governance that strengthens resilient MPA networks and sustainable fisheries management
Our Strategy for Achieving Results
- Implement the MPA management plan and ensure MPA effectiveness by monitoring, increasing local capacity and implementing climate change adaptation strategies
- Ensure the necessary governance structure to sustain the MPA networks through policy development and continued support to regional management groups
- Establish fishery management areas to improve food security by managing critical fish stocks sustainably
- Enhance management and enforcement at all levels by creating sustainable financing mechanisms and forging conservation agreements
To see nesting turtles in action, check out this video made by a Philippine videographer visiting the Turtle Islands and read about a recent sea turtle success in the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape from Orlando Maliwanag's CI blog: Living With Sea Turtles.