Diving enthusiasts must’ve been familiar with the Coral Triangle, but for those of us who are just started developing interest in this aquatic sport might be wondering, what in the world is a coral triangle? Is that where planes and ships were being sucked into some sort of alternate universe? Wait, that’s not even what the Bermuda Triangle is. Or is that some kind of sacred place where cults hold rituals? Whoa, that’s a bit dark. Anyways, go easy with the imaginations and let’s get to the real stuff.
The coral triangle is roughly a triangular area of the tropical marine waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste that contain at least 500 species of reef-building corals in each ecoregion. In other words, this is where 75 percent of all known species of corals in the world grow.
The Coral Triangle is not just inhabited by coral reefs, more than 3,000 species of fish live in the Coral Triangle, including the largest fish – the whale shark, and the coelacanth. It is the epicentre for the biodiversity of not only corals and fish, but many other marine organisms as well. It also provides habitat to six out of the world’s seven marine turtle species. Pretty cool, right?
Unfortunately, Coral Triangle is under threat from poor marine management, primarily from the coastal development, and overfishing and destructive fishing, lack of political will, poverty, a high market demand and local disregard for rare and threatened species, and effects of climate change warming, such as acidifying and rising sea levels. Coral reefs have been exposed to mass bleaching, which threaten to degrade the important ecosystems. Roughly 120 million people live within the Coral Triangle, where around 2.25 million fishers depend on healthy seas to make a living. These threats are putting livelihoods, economies and future market supplies at risk for species, such as tuna fish. Since the marine resources are a principal source of income for the population, the downstream effects of losing these critical coastal ecosystems are enormous.
In one of many efforts to protect this marine haven, the annual Coral Triangle Day was established on June 9, to celebrate and raise awareness of the ocean conservation and protection, especially on the Coral Triangle. Intended as an open-sourced event, the day is celebrated by individuals, organizations, and establishment concerned on the Coral Triangle.
Pic : By Papua Paradise