Professor of IPB University Talks about the Importance of Coral Reef Conservation for the Development of Marine Ecotourism

Prof. Fredinan Yulianda, Professor of IPB University from the Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences (FPIK) said that coral reef conservation areas have the potential as a source of marine and coastal economy. He said the potential of Indonesia's coral reefs is very large and is spread over an area of 2.5 million hectares in clear shallow waters. Coral reef areas are generally in small islands and contribute 70 percent of the world's coral species.

"Coral reef ecosystems in Indonesia have the potential for high biodiversity of marine biota and are associated with coral systems, molluscs, and other marine biota," said the Dean of FPIK IPB University.

Unfortunately, he said, the general condition of Indonesia's coral reefs is currently experiencing a decline in quality based on percent cover. In 2020, the category of coral reefs is based on the percent cover in 1153 locations of coral reef ecosystems in general, or around 71.20 percent, the condition of Indonesia's coral reefs is categorized as poor based on the percentage of coral cover.

Based on data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry in 2021, around 71.38 percent of coral reefs are in poor condition in 13 marine conservation areas, while only 28.62 percent of coral reefs are in good condition.

Prof. Fredinan explained that conservation efforts can be carried out with the concept of preventing damage and improving resources. This effort is a form of contribution to natural resource-based economic development that emphasizes the balance between the use of coral resources and the ability to recover coral resources that are used according to the carrying capacity limit.

Regarding ecotourism, the IPB University lecturer explained that coral reef ecotourism consists of diving tours and snorkeling tours. Snorkeling tourism activities are carried out in waters with a depth of 1-3 meters, while diving tours are carried out at a depth of 3-15 meters while still in harmony with conservation goals.

The intended conservation objectives include maintaining ecological processes, protecting biodiversity, preserving and utilizing coral resources, and improving the welfare of local communities.

"Development of marine tourism with the concept of ecotourism in marine conservation areas is very possible to bring in significant economic income," said Prof. Fredinan, an expert from IPB University.

Currently, Indonesia through the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries has designated and reserved marine conservation areas covering an area of 28,391,288.44 hectares, which is 8.39 percent of Indonesia's marine area. Most of the conservation areas that have the potential for the development of marine tourism are Marine National Parks, Aquatic Tourism Parks, Marine Nature Tourism Parks, and Aquatic Tourism Parks covering an area of 10,019,297 hectares.

The lecturer at the Department of Water Resources Management (MSP) explained that the marine conservation area is 10 million hectares. The area is estimated to have a stretch of coral reefs covering an area of 1 million hectares. Based on the current condition of coral reefs, with 28.8 percent in good condition, about 300,000 hectares of coral reefs have the potential to be used for marine tourism. Marine tourism consists of diving tours and snorkeling tours.

"So the carrying capacity of diving tourism is 4,800,000 people in four trips per day, while the carrying capacity of snorkeling tourism is 7,200,000 people in two trips per day," he said.

He continued, if the assumption is to use effective days, namely weekends (Saturday and Sunday), then marine tourism revenue in one year is 62.56 trillion rupiahs. The income consists of 25.02 trillion rupiahs from diving tourism and 37.54 trillion rupiahs from snorkeling tourism.

"The current good condition of coral reefs is only 28.8 percent, and if coral conservation and rehabilitation is carried out until the condition is 100 percent good, the economic contribution of coral reefs will increase to 217.23 trillion rupiahs per year," he concluded. (*)(IAAS/UBI)

Published Date : 24-Oct-2022

Resource Person : Prof Fredinan Yulianda

Keyword : coral reefs, coral conservation, marine tourism