Since the ancient times, the coral reef ecosystems have been of significance to mankind. These ecosystems have proved to be of great importance to man in economic, social and cultural terms. A wide range of ecological services are derived from these systems: food sources, and economic base. Importantly the coral reef system is viewed as the future hope for the nations within such reefs. An example of a coral reef is the triangle coral reef. This reef is the richest and most popular for fishing activities. It is also to be the one with the largest percent of the various marine lives. This reef's marine richness has provided the nations with much marine food: this has been of great significance in the recent past as it has been evident that some of the fish might disappear. Some of the steps have been taken to save the coral reef from loosing its marine resources (NOAA, 2009).
This essay will examine the measures which have been taken to conserve the coral reef in the coral triangle and the south pacific. The essay will give a brief background of the major problem in this region which has necessitated the campaigns to take measures to conserve the coral reef in these regions. Through the essay the man versus natural resources is brought to light and the efforts which have been made will be highlighted. The methodology used in writing the essay is purely through the use of recorded literature. The essay makes us of comprehensive update peer reviewed materials to discuss and draw conclusions on the topic of the essay.
The Coral Triangle
The coral triangle is the major centre of marine biodiversity. It spans from, according to Nature Conservancy, "Eastern Indonesia, parts of Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands" ('Conservancy' par. 1).(1) The reef covers a vast area: "an area of 2.3 million square miles (5.7 million km2), the equivalent to half of the entire United States" (Jackson, 2001; 'Conservancy' par. 2). The reef has great significance to marine biodiversity and has attracted the greatest ever conservation efforts on earth.(2) It the home to more than three quarters of some marine biodiversity, "home 75% of all species known to science, and more than 3,000 species of reef fish" ('Conservancy' par. 3).(3) The efforts to conserve the coral reef in this region are being led by Kiribati. The nation of Kiribati has declared the Phoenix Islands a protected area refereed to as the Phoenix Islands Protected Area (PIPA) (Horizon International, 2009).(4)
Why Conserve the Coral Triangle?
The slightly mentioned statistics above show the significance of the coral triangle to marine biodiversity. According to WWF (2009), the following statistics are related to the coral triangle:
Ø Of all the species known to science three quarters have a home in this coral reef (Stallings, 2009)
Ø Three thousand species of reef fish and commercially valuable others which include: "pelagic, or open ocean, species including yellowfin tuna, skipjack tuna, bigeye tuna, bumphead parrotfish sh, needlefi sh, Napoleon wrasse, and barracuda" (WWF, 2009, p.4) live here.
Ø Of the seven species of the known marine turtles six have a home in the coral triangle.
Ø Sharks which measure up to 20 meters often migrate to this region (Miller & Gerstner, 2002).
Ø Up to 22 marine mammals are known to have a home in the coral triangle (Essington, Beaudreau, Wiedenmann, 2006).
This simple analysis carried out by WWF shows that the world's marine biodiversity is heavily centralized in this region. With the number of people depending on the coral triangle a failure to take stern measure will lead to the disappearance of the coral triangle which will equally lead to the extinction of some of the marine biodiversity (Wiliamson, 2009; Myers, Worm, 2005; Worm , Barbier, Beaumont, Duffy, Folke , et al. 2006). According to WWF (2009),
"Coastal development, illegal and unregulated fishing, unsustainable tourism and global warming are taking a heavy toll and may cause the collapse of one of the world's most remarkable coral reef ecosystems." (WWF, 2009, 2)
The factors mentioned above have led to a great alarm among many organizations.
The nations in this region have also made some contribution towards ensuring that the coral triangle is conserved.
Conserving the Coral Triangle
There are many bodies which have been involved in the conversation of the coral triangle. This section will just highlight a section of section and show how and where they are carrying out their campaigns in conservation of the coral reef. One of such bodies is the conservancy's coral center (Nature Conservancy, 2009).
The Conservancy's Coral Triangle Centre
This was established in 2000 with its base in Bali. These use what they term as on site conservation. According to this on site conservation approach the body covers the following regions (Nature Conservancy, 2009):
Ø Indonesia: the areas covered here are Papua, the Sulawesi Seas, and the Lesser Sundas
Ø The Bismarck Sea
Ø The North West Borneo which consists of Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Ø Solomon Archipelago which consists of Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea.
More Action Sites are represented as below:
Komodo National Park
This park acts as a home for the following species:
1,000 fish species; 260 reef-building coral species; 70 sponge species; 17 dolphin and whale species; two turtle species; the famous komodo dragon. This has lead to decreased fish blasting and consequents increase in coral cover up to a percent of sixty (Nature Conservancy, 2009).
Wakatobi National Park
This is Indonesia's priority number one for marine conservation. It the third largest park in the country. The national park works with relation to WWF to come up with a long term plan. The conservation plans include scientific surveys of the park, making the community aware of the need for conservation, training of park ranges and offering of protection for fish against spawning aggregation (Nature Conservancy, 2009).
The Raja Ampat Island
This consists of more than 9.8 million land and sea acres. It is regarded as the diversity epicenter of the coral triangle. This island is home to the highest number of fish and coral diversities found on earth. The fish species include 537 species of coral (this forms three quarters of the known coral species). The island also hosts up to 1,074 fish species. The conservation at this point is aimed at protecting the local reefs at the same time maintaining the local population (Nature Conservancy, 2009).
The Derawan Islands
The area is renowned for rich coral reefs featuring the renowned green turtles and the stingless jelly fish species. The conservancy efforts at this station are being complemented by the WWF Indonesia, Kehati, the USAID and the local communities (Nature Conservancy, 2009).
This is a plan which is intended to support the District Government Klungkung Bali to establish a 19, 000 hectare park designed for use by the fishery industry and ecotourism (Nature Conservancy, 2009).
Savu Sea Marine national Park
This is a major corridor for 18 species of cetaceans. The rare blue and sperm whale species inhabit this region. It is the largest park in Indonesia with a total cover of 3.5 million (Nature Conservancy, 2009).
This is home to about 860 species of reef fish. It also hosts about 350 species of hard coral. The bay has great pinnacles arising from the sea floor making it a popular site for dolphins and whales. Sharks and large schools of tuna are also common in this bay (Nature Conservancy, 2009).
These islands cover more 835, 000 square miles and are among the most biologically diverse nations. The islands have the highest coral diversities in the world. There are 494 species of coral and several others which might be new to science (Nature Conservancy, 2009).
The Kiribati Nation
The nation of Kiribati is the leader of the conservation with the world's largest marine protected area. The Phoenix Islands are declared protected areas for the purpose of ensuring biological diversity. The protected region has underwater mountains and other deep sea habitat. The protected area has more than 520 species of fish (Horizon, 2008).
The coral triangle has the richest concentration of marine biodiversity. This biodiversity need to be protected as it contains more than 75 % of the marine biodiversity on the earth. The currents efforts being focused at conservation of the biodiversity are quite encouraging.