Bali’s Marine and Fisheries Department has released unsettling data about the condition of the island’s corals, just as a conference dedicated to ocean preservation has kicked off in Nusa Dua.

Wearing batik with a fish motif, Indonesia’s Minister of Marine and Fisheries, Susi Pudjiastuti, got the two-day Our Ocean Conference (OOC) 2018 rolling on Monday.

The conference will address issues like fighting plastic waste, marine crime, and protecting ocean habitats.

While the conference is tackling larger global trends and Indonesia’s issues a whole, the discussion is certainly applicable to Bali, where only 55 percent of coral reefs are in “good” condition. The rest of the reefs breakdown to 30 percent being “poor” and the remaining 15 percent, “bad”, according to the Bali provincial Marine & Fisheries Department.

Bali ranks a 51 out of 100 on the Ocean Health Index, says Bali Province Marine & Fisheries Head, I Made Gunaja.

Reefs in Bali have been damaged by heavy waves in extreme conditions on occasion, but the extent of the overall damage can be attributed to human activity and rising global temperatures, says Gunaja.

“There are a number of human activities such as explosive fishing that have an impact on coral reefs and vandalism that occurs in coral reef conservation areas in Nusa Penida,” Gunjaja said on Monday, as quoted by Antara.

For instance, a very visual example is a disturbing photo of a coral reef, apparently vandalized by careless tourists, went viral after it was shared by a Karangasem-based dive center in Sept. 2016.

For this reason, Bali will clearly need to step up its coral conservation efforts, says Gunaja.

“In the future, all regencies that have coral reefs will be made into conservation areas,” he said.

Let’s hope for the environment’s sake that this isn’t in the too distant future.

At present, corals under protection include the 20,057 hectares encompassed in the Nusa Penida Marine Protected Area (MPA).


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