Mon, 24 Feb 2003

ADB approves loan for coral reef rehabilitation

The Jakarta Post Jakarta

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) approved a US$33 million loan for Indonesia to help improve the latter's capacity to manage and rehabilitate damaged coral reefs and their ecosystems.

The loan was signed in Manila by ADB president Tadao Chino and the Charge d' Affaires of Indonesia for the Philippines A.E. Alexander Laturiuw last week.

In December last year, ADB also approved a $33 million loan for the same purpose under the coral reef rehabilitation and management project.

Focusing on districts in a few key provinces -- Riau, North Sumatra and West Sumatra -- the project aims to improve management of coral reef resources and rehabilitate coral reef ecosystems to help raise income and living standards of residents in the areas.

Those that stand to benefit directly include small fish farmers, fish processors and other workers in the fishing industry.

Currently, the bank reported that about 80 percent of the population in the areas near the coral reefs live below the poverty line.

The project also expects to address the issue that entrenched poverty in Indonesia's coastal and marine sectors contributes largely to the destruction of coral reefs.

Coral reefs in Indonesia are threatened by destructive and illegal fishing practices, sand mining and coral mining.

The destruction of coral reefs has often resulted in sharp drops in the variety and quantity of sea life.

Coral reefs are breeding and spawning grounds for fish and other marine creatures.