MANILA: The Asia-Pacific nations that compose the Coral Triangle have asked the Asian Development Bank or ADB and other international financial institutions to allocate $136 million to protect and preserve the area as the world’s centre of maritime biodiversity.
Composing the Coral Trinagle are the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, East Timor as well as the island nations of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific.
In their appeal, the nations said the fund would be used to promote sustainable fishing including the rehabilitation of mangroves, establishment of a marine database and implementation of a national coastal and marine management programme.
Through Secretary Ramon Paje of the Philippines department of environment and natural resources, the nations pointed out the health of the Coral Triangle totalling 5.7 million hectares of ocean waters was vital to their economies.
Paje said it contains 75 per cent of the world’s coral species, making it one of the most biodiverse areas in the world.
Among others, Paje said more than 120 million people live within the Coral Triangle.
Of the total, he said 2.2 million are directly dependent for their livelihood on its resources.
The Coral Triangle, Paje said, also supports the lucrative tuna industries of the countries especially the Philippines, Indonesia and the Solomon Islands.
However, Paje expressed alarm over the increasing degradation of resources in the Coral Triangle mainly due to illegal fishing with the use of dynamites and other explosives and pollution arising from unabated use of chemical fertilizers in agriculture as well as tourism.