The Pacific Ocean’s Coral Triangle has the most diverse marine ecosystems in the world, with more than 500 species of coral, at least 3,000 species of fish and the greatest remaining mangrove forests on Earth. The region is also the home of more than 300 million people.
And the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) is an international governance initiative for the region. Involving Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste, the CTI focuses on promoting healthy coral reefs and fisheries and ensuring food security for the region’s human population.
Last week, at a CTI meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, CI’s Global Marine Division announced the launch of The Seascapes Guidebook: How to Select, Develop and Implement Seascapes.
The Seascapes Guidebook was created to provide assistance to governments as they try to achieve the five goals of the CTI Regional Plan of Action:
- The designation and effective management of priority seascapes;
- The application of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM);
- The establishment and effective management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs);
- The achievement of climate change adaptation measures; and
- The improvement of threatened species status.
The guidebook draws from CI’s more than six years of experience working within the Bird’s Head Seascape (in Indonesia), the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape (in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Panama), and the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape (in the Philippines). It also incorporates best practices and lessons learned from other seascapes, such as those of the Wildlife Conservation Society as well as other large-scale marine management systems, to:
- Create a process to identify possible new seascapes;
- Select seascapes for investment; and
- Develop management strategies for selected seascapes that are applicable throughout the world.
As it becomes more and more clear that the issues facing the oceans — such as climate change and fisheries depletion — are more complex and broader than previously thought, it is important that management and governance systems address large-scale impacts. The seascapes framework is being successfully applied at various scales all over the world, and with The Seascapes Guidebook, CI hopes to provide assistance in the future application of the seascapes framework in order to promote real, effective and sustainable change in global ocean governance.
Niquole Esters is the CI coordinator of the Coral Triangle Initiative.