Indonesia announces plan to protect 10% of its seas by 2030 and 30% by 2045
- Indonesia will expand its coverage of marine protected areas to 325,000 square kilometers (125,000 square miles) by the end of this decade, or 10% of its total territorial waters, the fisheries ministry said.
- From 2030 to 2045, the government plans to triple this coverage to 975,000 km2 (376,000 sq mi).
- An ocean conservation campaigner welcomed the plan, but said the government needed to be able to reconcile it with a recently announced fisheries management policy that critics say threatens the sustainability of fish stocks.
- The campaigner also insisted on the need to ensure the quality of protection rather than the quantity.
JAKARTA – Indonesia plans to expand the protection of its seas to cover an area close to the size of Germany by 2030 – then triple it by 2045.
The country currently has 284,000 square kilometers (110,000 sq mi) of marine area under protection, and plans to increase it to 325,000 km2 (125,000 sq mi) by the end of this decade, or 10% of its waters. territorial total, the Ministry of Fisheries announced. The move is part of the country’s contribution to the global “30 by 30” conservation target, which aims to protect 30 percent of the world’s seas and lands by 2030.
From 2030 to 2045, the government plans to triple the coverage of marine protected areas to 975,000 km2 (376,000 sq mi).
“The ocean must be protected,” Fisheries Minister Sakti Wahyu Trenggono said on August 12, as quoted by state news agency Antara.
“Conservation [areas] will not only serve as a spawning ground for fish, but can also absorb carbon [emissions],” he added.
The ministry said it will develop strategies to strengthen planning and monitoring of marine protected areas to ensure sustainable management of these areas. He stressed the need to improve the economic benefits of conservation and to rely on cultural development and community knowledge of the different areas to have significant impacts.
“I think it’s such an ambitious goal,” Arisetiarso Soemodinoto, head of the oceans program at conservation NGO Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN), told Mongabay in an email. “But it can be achieved if the goal is to expand or add the area allocated for conservation.”
However, Arisetiarso said only about 25% of Indonesia’s current network of marine protected areas has proven effective in conserving fish stocks and biodiversity, and in providing equitable benefits to ocean-dependent communities. He also noted the Department of Fisheries’ controversial plan to impose a new quota-based fisheries management regime, and wondered how this would fit in with the expansion of marine protected areas.
“I have yet to see how the new fisheries management policy has addressed conservation areas to support its operation. It seems like those are two things going their own way,” he said.
Critics have warned that the quota-based policy threatens the sustainability of fish stocks in waters that for the most part are already considered fully exploited. And given that the fishing industry employs around 12 million Indonesians, Arisetiarso said it was important that fisheries management policy and marine protected area expansion policy complement each other.
Indonesia’s marine biodiversity plays an important role in national and global seafood supply. The country is home to some of the most diverse marine life on the planet, especially in its eastern region which is part of the Pacific Coral Triangle, an area renowned for its abundance of corals and reef fish.
Arisettiarso said the government should not pursue an arbitrary target of protecting 30% of its seas without ensuring quality protection for these marine protected areas.
“Our work is not done [just because we achieve] the upper limit suggested by the global public,” he said. “It is more important to have marine conservation areas that are managed effectively and justly than to simply continue to expand coverage.”
Basten Gokkon is senior writer for Indonesia at Mongabay. Find him on Twitter @bgokkon.
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