Ocean and Sea


is a song from L’Alphalpha, a four-piece band full of my buddies. You can listen to it here. But, I’m not going to talk about music, though.

Bali, Juli 2008. I went snorkeling!

Bali, Juli 2008. I went snorkeling!

A few days before I traveled to the UK, I arranged a meeting with Tante Rini Sucahyo, from Conservation International Indonesia. I first met her in a meeting in USAID’s office. Fitrian Ardiansyah, WWF Indonesia’s program director of climate change, invited me to come along with him to join the meeting. I wasn’t aware that she’s actually my friend’s mum because she seemed so young! She’s the mother of the loveliest experimental photographer I ever befriended with, Cassandra Niki (nicknamed Casseybunn :D).

We talked much about marine conservation, well that’s her main concern in environmental issues. That’s what I am going to share with you through this entry.

Images are courtesy of © Jez O’hare. Check his amazing works here.

I mean, did you know that coral reefs are animals instead of an underwater plant? And, did you know that Indonesia has the biggest marine biodiversity in the world? I didn’t.

There are three things that support the underwater life:

  1. Mangrove (hutan bakau)
  2. Seagrass bed (padang lamun)
  3. Coral reef (terumbu karang)

Mangrove and seagrass bed are often called “the nursery”. This is where baby fishes and turtles grow up until they can swim to the deeper part of the ocean. Most of Indonesian people only knew about mangrove and coral reef without knowing about seagrass bed, which is also very important. Without seagrass bed, baby fishes and turtles often gotten caught by predators before they can reach their home :(

Besides, turtles are also the main problem in Indonesia. It is still used as a part in religious rituals (especially in Bali island) and being consumed as food. It’s very ironic, because turtles are labeled using the term “endangered species” and so vulnerable. They need 5 years to grow up… well, if they are not eaten by the humans yet.

Conservation International has been doing a lot of things to conserve marine life in Indonesia. That includes workshop and education, mangrove reforestation (around Bali, Muara Karang and Flores), games for kids and clean up the sea with college students (especially IPB, they have diving clubs).

These are some facts to trigger your awareness:

  • 1356 species of reef fishes are found in Bird’s Head Seascape
  • 1223 species of reef fishes are found in Raja Ampat
  • There are 15 species of reef fishes that are only found in Bird’s Head Seascape
  • 600 species of coral reefs are found in Bird’s Head Seascape
  • 75% of all species of coral reefs in the world are found in Bird’s Head Seascape. It is 10 times of the coral reefs species found around The Caribbean Islands!
  • On the 4.500 species of reef fishes existing in the oceans worldwide, around 3.500 of them have been identified in Indonesia!

So, have you planned to do something? A snorkeling day, maybe? Or Google about seagrass bed? Well, you choose. Let me know what you think!

10 thoughts on “Ocean and Sea

  1. This is the exact bedtime story my mom tells me e-v-e-r-y night before i moved out from the house hahahaha.

    But, it’s good that you decided to write this and i hope people would take notice. i’ve been to the bombed water sites in Flores, all the coral were white and gray, and even the fishes lost their color! it was so sad! And oh no, don’t get me started about the turtles, i’d start crying immediately.

    • Really? I’m sure you can retell every phrase your mum said. :p

      Yes, I think everyone would agree that Indonesian people are not very aware with the underwater world though 66% of the country’s area consists of water. It’s not that they are careless but we only didn’t have enough education. People only talked about continental/terrestrial life and biodiversity (including me because I didn’t know much about marine conservation. But now I do a bit, thanks to your mum). I personally think that Indonesians should pay attention to both fields because we call our motherland as “tanah air”. Land and water grow and live together side by side. :)

  2. waktu itu gw pernah liat acr di metr tv,,, jadi seperti bazar gt..di las vegas kalo ga salah pokonya di USA,,,nah indonesia itu nawarin untuk snorkeling di daerah ……..(lupa),,,dan pas di akhir ad undian gt untk dapet 1 paket gratis….nah org2 bule itu excited bgt…..bazarnya pun rame bgt!,,bangga juga….tapi maslahnya mungkin untk org2 indonesia(trmsk gw) snorkeling itu muahallll,,,sdgkn org2 bule itu ga begitu masalahin itu,,,mereka tau laut indonesia itu begitu kaya,,dan mereka mau nyelem disana…well, itu bukn satu2nya faktor c,dan itu juga sehrusnya bukan alasan untuk kita cuek sama kelautan indnesia,,,,,,,

  3. oh Alanda.. thank you so much.. you flattered me too much.. I only know a little bit too and still need to learn a lot more.. it’s great that you’re taking a lead, we sure do need a lot of young people like you (who still don’t have to worry about paying bills :-p) to really speak up in the conservation world.. Good luck and thanks again!

  4. yeah i know exactly what you mean! i went to the georgia aquarium in atlanta and supposedly, it is ‘the largest aquarium’ in the world. at least thats what is said on the walls. i saw the fish and it was nothing compared to our sea world! we have tonssssss more than they do. i was so shocked

  5. Henhen, before you go snorkeling, maybe you can learn from the internet and books. The internet “knows” everything, you will only need to Google the things you want to know about marine life in Indonesia. You can collect money from your friends who also want to snorkle and buy snorkeling equipments together, I guess. You should really save your money to go snorkeling! It was really fun, beautiful.

  6. Aisha, really? We should make a larger-than-the-largest aquarium in the world. :D I think people (or perhaps the government) should really help to raise the awareness and educate our society about the underwater world because it’s too mesmerizing.

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