Manila, Philippines – Business and policy leaders from across Asia and the Pacific are gathering in Manila this week to identify opportunities for more sustainable growth in the world’s most diverse marine environment.(Press release from the office of Mr. Gregg Yan)
The Coral Triangle Business Summit opens on Tuesday, 19 January and will attract representatives from more than 100 businesses as well as non-government and international development organizations.
Organized by the Philippine Government and WWF with the assistance of USAID, the Summit will be held on 19 and 20 January and will outline pathways and networking opportunities for key sectors in the Coral Triangle interested in reducing their ecological footprint.
It will also provide a platform for financial support and investment for businesses willing to commit to sustainability and green growth.
“There is a growing demand for seafood and other marine products from this region, as well as increased tourism, coastal development and oil and gas interests, all driven by exploding population growth and increasing affluence,” said Head of WWF Coral Triangle Programme Dr. Lida Pet Soede.
“Business leaders therefore have a central role to play in the protection and on-going management of this unique and important marine environment.
“Thankfully there are emerging opportunities for businesses willing to operate more responsibly, and growing demands from consumers for greener products. This summit will help businesses leaders identify what some of those opportunities are.”
The Coral Triangle is scientifically defined as the marine region encompassing Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands and Timor-Leste.
Covering just one per cent of the earth’s surface, the Coral Triangle includes 30 per cent of the world’s coral reefs, 76 per cent of its reef building coral species as well as vital spawning grounds for tuna.
The region sustains the lives of more than 120 million people, along with thousands of small and medium businesses that heavily rely on healthy marine environments and resources.
But the Coral Triangle’s marine environments are threatened by over-exploitation and environmental degradation, compounded by population pressures and severe climate change.
According to a WWF report coral reefs could disappear from the Coral Triangle by the end of the century and the ability of the region’s coastal environments to feed people could decline by 80 per cent if no effective action is taken.
For more information:
Charlie Stevens, WWF Coral Triangle Media Office, +61 424 649 689
Paolo Mangahas, WWF Coral Triangle Communications Manager, +63 9293600121
Gregg Yan, WWF-Philippines Communications, +639178334734
The summit concluded with the private sector outlining a plan to protect the Coral Triangle.
In the seafood sector, fishing operators and buyers agreed to address the problem of overcapacity and overfishing through a number of measures including:
1/ Ensuring that fish are not sourced from illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) operations;
2/ Implementing catch and trade documentation schemes to ensure traceability;
3/ The use of third party certification schemes such as MSC to promote sustainability;
4/ Reducing bycatch (including juvenile fish) through adopting bycatch appropriate technology and techniques; and
5/ The promotion of low carbon fish production methods and trade practices.
Martin Brugman, president of global seafood supplier Culimer B.V said one of the issues discussed was how adding value to fish could help operators to better address the problem of overfishing.
“Ultra-low temperature production of tuna for example allows for better quality fish when it’s landed and helps fishermen get by taking less fish from the oceans but making more dollars,” said Mr Brugman.
Cebu Air used the summit to significantly extend its program to help protect Apo Reef in the Philippines. ‘Bright skies for Juan’ is an initiative that allows consumers to donate money with each flight to a WWF climate change adaptation program to protect the Philippines’ largest coral reef.
by Jesusa Bernardo
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