Better ways to conserve the Coral Triangle

Six Southeast Asian countries are working together to better conserve the world’s centre of marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle, with the hope that this will lead to a more collaborative approach to sharing coral reef resources in the area.

The Coral Triangle sits between Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands, a group of countries that have formed the Coral Triangle Initiative. It is home to 76 per cent of the world’s known coral species, 2,500 reef fish species, and the largest area of mangroves in the world.

The team at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED) worked with the Coral Triangle Initiative to develop conservation strategies that the six nations could apply together to achieve common goals, which include managing biodiversity on the coral reef, making fisheries sustainable, and improving food security.

These strategies were determined using several objectives for identifying places where it would be beneficial to establish marine protected areas.

These included: representing all habitat types; protecting fish spawning aggregations; improving the status of threatened sea turtles; maximising the connectivity for coral trout and sea cucumber larvae to disperse, both regionally important fisheries species; and protecting places that are less affected by climate change.

These strategies will support a fair, appropriate, and collaborative conservation effort for the Coral Triangle.

Credit for banner image: P Mumby.