Coral reefs off of Indonesia’s many islands are disappearing at an alarming rate, according to a report released by the Indonesian Institute of Sciences. The institute monitored coral reef ecosystems in 77 regions around the Indonesian archipelago and found that 70 percent of the reefs studied are either damaged or destroyed. The report said that factors that have contributed to the damage on these coral reef ecosystems include dynamite and other explosive fishing, mining runoff, and coral bleaching. The institute released its report after a meeting of coral reef experts at the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium, which concluded July 13 in Cairns, Australia.
Scientists at the Cairn meetings said that as much as 90 percent of the corals in Asia’s Coral Triangle (countries that comprise the Coral Triangle include Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste) are at risk, with the main causes of coral degradation and destruction being such factors as coastal development, overfishing, pollution, mining and other human activity. At the symposium, scientists released their report “Reefs at Risk Revisited in the Coral Triangle” that details the threats to reefs in the Coral Triangle. According to the Reefs at Risk report, the Coral Triangle is home to nearly 30 percent of the world’s coral reefs and more than 3,000 fish species, twice the number of species found anywhere else. The region is also home to more than 130 million people who rely on the reef ecosystems for everything from food to employment. The report cites the success rates of Marine Protected Areas and the need to increase their effectiveness in Indonesia and other countries in the Coral Triangle.