UN environmental agency launches project to save Indonesias coral reefs

“Coral reefs are a major tourist attraction in Bali, and safeguarding them is essential for the industry and the well-being of the local people who depend on them for food and employment,” UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Industry Officer Niclas Svenningsen said. “By raising awareness and changing the behaviour of tourists and local tourism industry workers we can help ensure the sustainability of the reefs.”Launched at Kuta Beach in association with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the training is based around five new “communication” tools, including explanations of the main biological and ecological features of the reefs and charts for boaters indicating no-anchor areas, mooring buoys, protected areas, how to manage refuelling and anchoring practices. A poster highlights how tourists can contribute to the protection of the reefs while on holiday. Threats related to tourism range from snorkelling, diving and boating, which can cause direct physical damage to reefs, and indirect impacts through development, construction and operation of tourism infrastructure. At 51,020 square kilometres, Indonesia’s reefs represent 18 per cent of the world total. The vast archipelago is also part of the most biologically diverse coral reef region, with nearly 600 species. Its reefs support one of the largest marine fisheries in the world, generating around 3.6 million tons per annum, and provide the only source of protein for many local communities. The Bali training workshop follows a similar UNEP workshop held last month in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, in partnership with the Project Aware Foundation.

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