TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Marine Affairs and Fisheries Ministry has declared Pieh Island in West Sumatra as a conservation area and migration route for sea mammals.
"Conservation of sea mammals’ habitat and migration route has been established in some areas, including at the Marine Tourism Park (TWP), Pieh Island," the ministry's director general of marine spatial management, Aryo Hanggono, said in a statement on Saturday.
Hanggono said Indonesia has at least 33 species of cetaceans (whales and dolphins), or over a third of the total cetacean species found in the world.
The infraorder Cetacea is a key component in the food chain, along with other major predators, hence, any disturbance in its population affects the entire food chain, he noted.
"Considering these roles, we need to protect and preserve the existence of Cetacea, especially in Indonesian waters," he added.
The ministry has issued a ministerial regulation (no. 79/2018) on the national action plan for sea mammals in 2018-2022, which is aimed at protecting sea mammals, maintaining their stable population, and developing sustainable economic benefit from the species.
Head of the National Marine Conservation Area (LKKPN), Fajar Kurniawan, said sea mammals in Pieh Island have become a focus of conservation, in addition to coral reefs and turtles.
Data on sea mammal appearance in the last five years will be used as a basis for their management in the area, according to officials.
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