Target: Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries Sharif Cicip Sutardjo
Goal: Demand regulations to protect environmentally threatened coral reefs in Indonesia.
Destructive fishing practices, such as blast and cyanide fishing, are threatening the coral reefs of Indonesia, which are among the most biologically diverse in the world. Despite the importance of protecting the reefs, there is very little governance regarding the conservation of marine life in the Republic of Indonesia. Steadily, the health of the reefs has declined due to global warming and human activities. The plants and animals contained in the coral reefs need to be preserved with rigorous regulation.
Currently, responsibility for protecting the coral reefs belongs to the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries. However, because the reefs generate much-needed revenue for the country through fishing and tourist attractions, the Indonesian government finds it difficult to stop exploiting the rich natural resource. As a result, Indonesia’s original goal to have 85 Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) covering 50 million hectares by the year 2000 has floundered, and the country currently has only 51 MPA’s covering 6.2 million hectares.
The remaining reefs surrounding Indonesia are not protected by law. Yet, Indonesia’s coral reefs support over twenty five percent of the world’s marine life, including over 480 species of hard coral and 1,650 species of coral reef fish. Indonesia’s waters contain eighteen percent of the world’s total reefs. It is imperative that measures be taken to improve marine protection, such as fostering sustainable tourism instead of profiting from fishing practices that directly contribute to the deaths of marine life.
Indonesia’s efforts to protect its coral reefs have been abysmal thus far. In over ten years, it has failed to accomplish even half of what it originally intended to do. This could be turned around with a little time, effort, and funding. Demand that the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries begin regulating the protection of Indonesia’s coral reefs.
Dear Mr. Sutardjo,
It is the responsibility of your organization to manage the protection of Indonesia’s coral reefs. So far, not enough has been done to achieve any substantial conservation or to thwart dangerous fishing practices that contribute to destruction of the coral reefs. As one of the world’s most biologically diverse areas of marine life, it is vital that measures be taken to improve the regulation of coral reef preservation in Indonesia.
Currently, Indonesia is reaping the benefits of exploiting its coral reefs. Tourism and fishing generate necessary revenue to the country’s well-being. However, the practices being employed to enjoy those benefits are not sustainable, and soon your country will be without its most precious resource. If people are going to continue to enjoy the reefs, they must be conserved. This means actively protecting marine life by designating Marine Protected Areas, as well as creating laws that outlaw destructive practices such as blast and cyanide fishing, and implementing consequences for noncompliance with those laws.
Considering that coral reefs are Indonesia’s biggest source of revenue, it only makes sense to protect them. Since being delegated this responsibility in 1999, your organization has not taken any drastic measures to solve the issue. Yet, it is essential that actions be taken to sustain marine life in Indonesian waters. We demand more rigorous regulations regarding the preservation of your country’s coral reefs.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Les Chatfield via Flickr