Southeast Asia’s marine ecosystems are among the world’s richest—and the most threatened. The region is home to the Coral Triangle, one of the most important global centers of marine biodiversity. These waters are home to at least 500 known species of corals (around 75% of the known global total), and at least 3,000 known species of reef fishes (around 40% of the known global total).
Around 350 million people (more than half of the region’s total population) live within 50 kilometers of the sea. And more than 100 million people in Indonesia and the Philippines rely on the sea for food and livelihood. But the very seas that provide these people subsistence are under serious threat. Southeast Asia’s seas are in crisis. Important fragile marine ecosystems in the region are being destroyed at an alarming rate. Overfishing and destructive fishing activities are depleting our sea’s resources without giving it time to recover. Pollution is suffocating what were once pristine waters, while rising temperatures due to climate change are killing corals and causing ocean acidification.
Local threats—like illegal fishing and overfishing—are putting 85% of reefs within the Coral Triangle Region at risk. This is substantially higher compared to the global average of 60%. Watershed-based pollution is also pervasive, threatening 45% of reefs. Impacts from coastal development threaten more than 30% of the region’s reefs. In short, Southeast Asia’s oceans are heavily damaged and severely exploited and overfished.
Overfishing and collapse of the fish stocks of Southeast Asia threaten the food security of the region. Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand are major fishing countries and thus have a stake in preserving the oceans.
It is against this backdrop that GPSEA is launching its oceans campaign. The campaign seeks to preserve and rehabilitate the region’s oceans by calling on governments for better marine resource policies and their strong implementation, focusing initially on fisheries policies.
Since Southeast Asia is globally significant as a center for biodiversity, any effort to preserve the marine resources within the region will provide a significant contribution to the larger effort to save our oceans globally.
Download the following briefing papers for more information:
About Greenpeace Southeast Asia
About the Oceans Campaign
Southeast Asia's Seas
Two Ships: The Rainbow Warrior and the Esperanza
The Philippine Seas
Apo Island Marine Sanctuary