Ocean and Sea

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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!