The Straits Times
www.straitstimes.com
Published on Feb 20, 2013
 

Indonesia announces shark, manta ray sanctuary to protect marine life

 
 

JAKARTA (AFP) - Indonesia has announced a new shark and manta ray sanctuary, the first to protect the species in the rich marine ecosystem of the Coral Triangle, known as the "Amazon of the ocean".

Environmentalists on Wednesday welcomed the creation of the 46,000 sq km protection zone, in an area at risk from both overfishing and climate change.

The local government in Raja Ampat on the western tip of New Guinea island announced the move this week, issuing local regulations to ban the finning and fishing of sharks in the area, a tourist destination popular with divers.

Mr Rizal Algamar, Indonesia director of the Nature Conservancy, described the regulations in a joint statement with Conservation International as a "breakthrough in policy".