Posted by: Hendra Siry | 12 May, 2009

Time for Countries to Speak Out on Marine Issues

As the biggest archipelagic country in the world, Indonesia has called on the global commu-nity to speak out on the need and significance to preserve the ocean, which plays a key role in food security. Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Freddy Numberi told a press briefing Sunday that many countries were affected by global warming, including rising sea levels and sea temperatures.

“What about the people affected by the impacts *of global warming* caused by developed countries? Should we remain quiet?” he said a day before the start of the May 11-15 World Ocean Conference. “It’s time for us to speak out. about the absorption, about the emissions. These issues need further discussions.”

He added many countries had to deal with rising sea levels, which in some places have already submerged some small islands. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts that climate change will raise sea levels by nearly 60 centimeters by 2100 if nations do not make a concerted effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions. One of the examples is the Maldives, which are currently 1.5 meters above sea level and is at serious risk of being inundated by rising sea levels.

Freddy said Indonesia had received support from Pacific countries to speak out on the ocean-related issue, especially on preservation and food security. He added the country had begun the preservation of its marine ecosystem in a bid to show the global community that Indonesia was taking real action.

“We’ve begun to create marine protected areas (MPAs), especially in the Savu Sea in East Nusa Tenggara. Our move was previously challenged by the local people because they observe the lamalera *whaling* tradition,” he said. “With the Savu Sea becoming a conservation area, they were afraid they would no longer be able to hunt whales. They only catch two whales a year. So we’ve kept the sea a conservation area, but we ensure they can still perform their traditional fishing rights.”

The Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) – to begin on May 14 – is expected to come up with an action plan to preserve 75,000 square kilometers of coral reefs spread out between six countries: Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Timor Leste and Indonesia. The six countries will get international funding worth US$250 million. The coral triangle is located between the Pacific and Indian oceans, making the spot a breeding ground for numerous species of fish, which makes it a potentially lucrative fishing industry.

Source: The Jakarta Post – May 11, 2009


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