WWF supports Manado Alliance

By

Neil Ray, SeafoodSource contributing editor, reporting from Bangkok

Published on
May 13, 2009

The concern for coastal communities is being addressed by several parties, including the World Wildlife Fund, at this week's World Ocean Conference in Manado, Indonesia. More than 120 countries are participating in the discussion on the oceans' effect on climate change.

Following the deportation of several organization members for protesting, the Manado Alliance and the Indonesian Forum for the Environment sent a strongly worded letter to the Indonesian Chief of Police in which Secretary General Koesnadi Wirasapoetra claimed the protestors had the right to stage a rally.

He pointed out that the meeting aimed to highlight the concerns of Indonesian fishermen and to address the problem of climate change. Illegal fishing and overfishing have only been touched on in specific areas such as the Savu Sea, but Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Freddy Numberi said there were other forums open to discuss these topics.

In a parallel meeting at the conference venue, the WWF issued a 220-page report on climate change's effect on coastal communities and cited the potential for putting 100 million people in Southeast Asia at risk. The study drew on the expertise of biologists, fishery scientists and economists.

"If we continue along our current trajectory and do little to protect coastal environments from the onslaught of local threats, then tens of millions of people will be forced to move from rural and coastal settings due to loss of homes, food resources and income," said Ove Hoegh-Guildberg, a researcher at Queensland University in Australia.

The report also points out that though the Coral Triangle covers just 1 percent of the Earth's surface, it contains 30 percent of its coral reef. The Coral Triangle encompasses the coral-rich waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.

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