Indonesia is home of more than 600 known coral species and 2,228 coral reef fish species (37 % of the world population of coral reef fish). Additionally, the country is ranked as the third larger fish producer in the world, behind China and Peru making it a major trading partner with the U.S. The annual per capita consumption of fish in Indonesia is more than 21 kg, above the world average amounting to 16 kg, a research reveals. The facts confirm the significance of Indonesia’s rich coastal and marine biodiversity not only for the nation but also for the regional and international contexts.

However threats to Indonesian coral reefs remain at an alarming rate. Overfishing, destructive fishing practices (blast fishing, the use of cyanide, and bottom trawling), as well as Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported (IUU) fishing are some major threats causing large-scale destruction of the Indonesian coral reef. The marine ecosytems and its human communities have suffered more due to climate change impacts that include ocean warming, ocean acidification, sea level rise, and increasing storm frequency and intensity.

Improved management of fisheries and coral reef ecosystems is urgently needed to enhance the resiliency of these resources and in turn, protect human communities by providing them with sustainable livelihoods, food security, and physical protection from storms and sea level rise.

The five year (2016-2021) project funded by USAID “Sustainable Ecosystems Advanced (SEA)” aims to support the Government of Indonesia to improve the governance of fisheries and marine resources and to conserve biological diversity. Implemented by Tetra Tech and a consortium of partners, the SEA project is targeted at national, provincial, and local levels, with a focus on the Provinces of West Papua, Maluku, and North Maluku that lie within Indonesia’s Fishery Management Area (FMA) 715. The project aims to utilize an ecosystem approach to fisheries management and engage key stakeholders, to (1) reform fisheries management and promote marine protected areas to enhance fisheries productivity, conservation, and sustainable utilization; and (2) strengthen the leadership capacity of local governments and the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF). Currently the USAID SEA consortium consists of five implementing partners namely Coral Triangle Centre (CTC), World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), World Conservation Society (WCS), Yayasan Masyarakat dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI), and Marine Change.