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Blue Conference

A world-class conference gathering Indonesian and  international speakers debating over critical ocean issues.

Largest archipelago in the world, Indonesia has a mission to lead nations in achieving decisive goals for the future of our blue planet: reduce marine pollution and ocean acidification, protect and restore coastal ecosystems, reverse the overfishing crisis and increase the economic benefits from sustainable use of marine resources. 

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Oceans are central to the largest archipelago in the world. 70% of the country protein sources come from fish and nearly 20% of the Indonesian GDP is generated by fisheries, coastal tourism and other marine related industries (Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries). Consequently, the  creation of a sustainable blue economy will be critical to Indonesia in achieving resilient coastal livelihoods, a healthy marine environment and a balanced national development. 

Indonesia is making progress towards effective marine governance and conservation but much more needs to be done given existing threats and climate change negative effects. Overfishing, marine pollution, coral reefs destruction and mangrove conversion are major environmental issues that need massive investment and consistent policies to be effectively addressed.

The government has set a very ambitious goal to make its fishing industry sustainable by 2025, notably through the extensive implementation of the Fishery Management Area (WPP) system. However, subsidies allocation strategy and compliance monitoring capacities will need to be upgraded to make significant progress towards that goal. 

The Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries is also aiming at the crucial target of rapidly extending MPA (Marine Protected Area) surfaces, notably in the Eastern Indonesia Coral Triangle region, where marine biodiversity is the highest. By 2030, 30 million hectares of marine habitat should be legally protected and managed by a MPA system defining strict no-take-zones or allowing only traditional and small-scale fishers to operate. Adequate funding, qualified management and regulations enforcement will determine the success of this MPA extension policy. 



Indonesia has the largest coral reef surface in the world (over 50,000 Km2) and the highest marine biodiversity on the planet. Since more than 590 species of corals have been identified in Indonesian waters, the archipelago is estimated to harbor around 75% of the world's coral species (LIPI 2019). These ecosystems are critical to ensure the availability of many species and protect coastal areas from flood damage. Besides, tourism driven by marine environments generate significant income while creating jobs and livelihoods. 

However, around one-third of Indonesia’s coral reefs are in poor condition (LIPI 2020) due to the combined actions of unregulated fishing, mass tourism activities, ocean acidification and warming seas. 

Strengthening the management of Indonesian MPA (Marine Protected Areas) has become a critical step to ensure the conservation of these precious living creatures. In addition, reefs restoration through coral fragmentation and transplantation onto artificial structures has shown promising results in order to compensate environmental damages. 

Besides 500 other active projects all over the archipelago, the ICRG (Indonesian Coral Reef Garden) is presently the largest coral restoration project in the world. Supported by the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs, the ICRG has employed to date more than 10,000 local stakeholders in five locations covering 75 hectares around Bali.

fish in the ocean




Indonesia is the second largest contributor of plastic waste in the world, with approximatively 7.8 million tons of debris generated every year. Out of this total volume, 4.9 million tons is uncollected, disposed in open dumpsites or leaked from bad landfills. Each year, 600,000 tons of plastic waste end up into Indonesian seas, mainly from flowing out rivers (World Bank).

Marine debris cost over USD 450 million per year (APEC 2020) and negatively affects the ecosystem as sea creatures like whales, turtles and fish mistake floating plastic waste for food. In the end, microplastics enter human body through ingestion of contaminated seafood. 

Fighting plastic pollution means switching from single use to reusable products and packaging, developing research into biodegradable plastics, funding waste collection systems and recycling facilities to create an operating circular economy. 

Launched in 2019 through the WRI (World Resources Institute) Indonesia, the National Plastic Action Partnership (NPAP) is a platform that brings Indonesia’s leading stakeholders together in the effort to achieve a 70% reduction in marine debris by 2025. By implementing the NPAP, Indonesia is expected to prevent 16 million tons of plastic waste from entering the ocean by 2040. 


Overfishing in coastal areas severely threatens the outstanding marine biodiversity of the Indonesian archipelago. 90% of Indonesian boats draw their catch from areas that are already overfished so breeding populations become too depleted to recover (World Bank). 

Some Megafauna iconic species (cetaceans, whale sharks, manta rays, saw fish, sea turtles and giant clams) are fully protected under Indonesian laws but they have experienced dramatic decline in the past decades. 

Indonesia has the largest shark fishing industry in the world and several species face possible extinction (Whitetip, Hammerheads) if proper research and conservation work is not put in place. 

WWF Indonesia has revealed that the archipelago is home to six out of seven of the world’s marine turtle species but all of them are classified by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) from being vulnerable to critically endangered (Hawksbill turtle). 

With one of the lowest reproductive rates of all sharks and rays, reef Manta rays are also classified as a vulnerable species on the IUCN Red List. Fishing pressure  takes a heavy toll on their population so marine research and conservation work across Nusa Penida, the Komodo National Park, Sangalaki island and Raja Ampat are now becoming essential to the Manta ray survival in Indonesian waters. 




Indonesia has the largest mangrove forests area in the world, with around 3.5 million hectares (23% of the world’s total) mostly found in Papua, Kalimantan and Sumatra. 

Straddling the interface of land and sea, mangrove forests are of two worlds. Their branches provide homes for reptiles and nesting birds, while their roots, when submerged, become protective nurseries for baby fish and sanctuaries for marine mammals. Mangroves also provide a slew of benefits for coastal human communities. They act as storm barriers, protecting inland areas from flooding and erosion by dissipating the energy of big waves. 

Blue-carbon coastal ecosystems like mangrove are also 5 to 10 times more effective than a rainforest at removing carbon from the air (SeaTrees). 

However, more than 50% of Indonesian mangroves areas are in a degraded condition (Ministry of Marine and Fisheries 2019) and growing surfaces are converted into housing projects, shrimp aquaculture and palm oil plantations. 

The extension of the primary forest conversion moratorium to mangrove areas would be an effective way to curb this degradation process. On top of conservation efforts, the government has set an ambitious target of rehabilitating 600,000 hectares of mangroves by 2024. 



Local communities' active involvement in marine conservation and ocean sustainability policies is one of the most important factor of success in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Goal # 14 (Life Below Water) : “To conserve and sustainably use the world’s ocean, sea and marine resources”.

Using science, education and awareness, dedicated NGOs help coastal communities to realize the value of their marine environment and give them practical tools to manage and protect it. As a promising result, a growing number of stakeholders voluntarily comply with sustainable fishing practices and marine reserve rules, so they contribute significantly to marine life rebounding in protected areas. 

The creation of LMMA (Locally Managed Marine Areas) participates in the development of these inclusive grassroots relationships with local communities. These conservation zones put people at the center :  It’s the fishers themselves who are taking the management decisions, based on their needs, their priorities and their traditional ecological knowledge. Compared to government-managed MPA (Marine Protected Areas), LMMA have proven to be a cost-effective, scalable, resilient and more socially acceptable alternative to more traditional top-down methods of marine resource management (Shawn Peabody - Blue Ventures).

coastal communities
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