Wednesday, December 07, 2016


If we are to properly protect the world ocean that makes up 71% of our planet, one of the most vital and important regions to conserve is the Coral Triangle.

 Also dubbed the "Amazon of the seas", it is now recognised to be the world's most biodiverse marine environment - a biological epicentre for the world ocean, producing larvae and species that migrate and restock other areas of the planet.

The Coral Triangle -  1.6% of the planet’s ocean - is a roughly triangular area of 5.7 million square kilometres (2,200,000 sq mi) of the tropical marine waters of  Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Timor-Leste (formerly East Timor).

In each eco-region of the Triangle, the waters contain at least 500 species of reef-building corals. The area as a whole contains 76% of all known coral species in the world and 100,000 kms of coral reefs - 29% of the world total..  

These provides a habitat for more than 3,000 species of coral reef fish, the highest diversity in the world

The waters are also home to the biggest fish in the world, the whale shark and the remarkable living fossil, the coelacanth.

The most important reproductive areas for yellowfin, skipjack and bigeye  tuna are in the Triangle

They also host six of the world’s seven marine turtle species.

In addition, the region also provides critical migration and feeding routes for whales and other cetaceans including the giant Blue Whale.
The Coral Triangle also has the greatest extent of mangrove forests in the world.


The Coral Triangle sits at a crossroads of rapidly expanding populations, economic growth and international trade. The biodiversity and natural productivity of the Coral Triangle are under threat from poor marine management (primarily from the coastal development, and overfishing and destructive fishing), lack of political will, poverty, a high market demand and local disregard for rare and threatened species, and climate change (warming, acidifying and rising seas).

An estimated 120 million people live within the Coral Triangle, of which approximately 2.25 million are fishers who depend on healthy seas to make a living. These threats are putting at risk livelihoods, economies and future market supplies for species such as tuna. 

According to the Coral Triangle Knowledge Network, about $3 billion in fisheries exports and another $3 billion in coastal tourism revenues are derived as annual foreign exchange income in the region.

The value of just a one-kilometre stretch of coral reef in the region can be as high as US$1.2 million, considering the goods and ecosystem services it provides.

Studies have highlighted the alarming decline and mass bleaching of coral cover in this region. Healthy reefs in the Triangle are estimated to be able to produce up to 40 metric tons of fish per year.

Worldwide coral reefs occupy less than one quarter of 1% of the marine environment and are home to more than 25% of all known marine fish species

Oceans provide around 50% of the oxygen we breathe, primarily through phytoplankton living in the water. Therefore life in our oceans is critical. Our very survival is dependent on the Coral Triangle’s survival.

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