- Indonesia will virtually double its marine protected areas over the next three years to cover 10-million hectares of some the most biodiversity-rich sea on the planet, the country's Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Dr. Rokhmin Dahuri, said Monday.
The announcement came at "Defying Ocean's End", an international marine conservation conference being held in Mexico that has drawn together researchers from more than 20 countries and some of the world's largest environmental groups.
"We are already one of the regional leaders in marine conservation, but we want to become global leaders and prove to the world that it is possible for economic development and biodiversity conservation to exist in harmony," Dahuri said. "Only through protected areas can we guarantee the long-term prosperity of our fishermen."
The announcement came after Dahuri and the president of Conservation International, Russell Mittermeier, signed a letter of intent regarding the conservation and sustainable management of Indonesia's marine biodiversity. Indonesia forms part of the Coral Triangle - the region containing the richest coastal and marine biodiversity in the world.
"This is one of the great conservation commitments made in the past several years and we are extremely impressed with the minister's decision," said Mittermeier. "Conservation International's Global Conservation Fund (GCF) has decided to provide an initial investment of $1 million to create a trust fund for marine protected areas that will ensure there are resources for managing these areas in perpetuity. We are hopeful other donors and NGOs will join us in getting the ball rolling."
The GCF was created by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in 2001.
Convened by Gordon Moore and renowned oceanographer Dr. Sylvia Earle, "Defying Ocean's End" (DOE) marks the first time some of the world's top environmental groups have gathered to develop a strategy for restoring the health of the world's ocean. Conservation International, the World Wildlife Fund, Natural Resources Defense Council, The Nature Conservancy, The Ocean Conservancy, Wildlife Conservation Society and The World Conservation Union (IUCN) are collaborating in the effort.
The event is made possible by sponsorship from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, BP p.l.c., Environmental Systems Research Institute, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, The Henry Foundation and an anonymous donor.