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Marine Conservation: Indonesia’s Tech-Driven Research Expedition

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Utilising cutting-edge mapping technology and data analytics, the Indonesian government has initiated a landmark collaboration with a global non-profit organisation to conduct a series of marine research expeditions. Led by Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Investment, Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, this ambitious initiative, announced during a press conference in Nusa Dua, Bali, marks a pivotal stride towards unlocking the vast marine potential of Indonesia through comprehensive mapping and analytics methodologies.

Image credits: ANTARA Indonesian News Agency

The programme encourages active participation from scientists across diverse disciplines, fostering collaboration between BRIN, universities, and Indonesian conservation organisations. Through comprehensive data collection and analysis, the expedition seeks to address critical knowledge gaps in Indonesia’s marine ecosystem, particularly in the deep sea, where only a fraction of the area has been mapped.

The primary focus of this research endeavour is to delve into various aspects of marine biodiversity, carbon potential, fish stocks assessment, and earthquake mapping. Specifically, the exploration will concentrate on investigating megathrust zones to enhance earthquake and tsunami modelling, providing invaluable insights into natural disaster preparedness and mitigation strategies.

Commencing on May 8, 2024, from Sambu Island in the Riau Islands, the expedition kicked off a three-month-long journey aboard the non-profit organisation’s state-of-the-art vessel. The expedition is scheduled to traverse multiple regions, including Banda Aceh, Teluk Bayur in Padang, Tanjung Priok Jakarta, Benoa Denpasar Bali, Labuan Bajo NTT, and will culminate in Bitung, North Sulawesi, by August 25, 2024.

Minister Pandjaitan stressed the multifaceted benefits of this research, anticipating that it will not only yield innovative product solutions across fields like medicine and biotechnology but also bolster social welfare and environmental conservation efforts.

The collaboration between the Indonesian government and the non-profit organisation underscores a commitment to scientific advancement and sustainable resource management. Head of BRIN, Laksana Tri Handoko, highlighted the agency’s ongoing support for maritime expeditions, with a track record dating back to 2022.

By leveraging research vessels and forging partnerships with international entities, BRIN aims to facilitate groundbreaking research initiatives that drive socio-economic development and environmental stewardship.

Indonesia is leveraging technology to bolster disaster preparedness, sustainability efforts, and marine conservation, showcasing a commitment to harnessing innovation for the preservation of its natural resources and the protection of its citizens. With a focus on data analytics, digital solutions, and cutting-edge technologies, Indonesia aims to bolster its resilience against environmental challenges while promoting sustainable practices for the benefit of its marine ecosystems.

Since the World Water Forum (WWF) held in Indonesia, OpenGov Asia reported, that awareness of marine and health issues has surged across several regions of the country. One notable initiative is the implementation of the ‘PIKAT SAJA’ feature within the Saolin application by the Department of Control and Supervision of the Quality of Marine and Fisheries Products (BPPMHKP) in the Bangka Belitung Islands.

This innovative tool enables the public to swiftly report any concerns regarding marine and fisheries, ensuring prompt attention and resolution, ultimately aiming to enhance monitoring efforts and improve the quality of marine resources in the region.

Indonesia, celebrated for its rich biodiversity, faces significant challenges in preserving its natural heritage due to deforestation, land transformation, fires, mining, and illegal activities. To counter these threats, the government has initiated conservation efforts, notably through Presidential Instruction No. 1 of 2023, directing ministries and institutions, including the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN), to prioritise biodiversity conservation within sustainable development agendas augmented by technology.

Given these ambitions, the partnership with the non-profit partnership holds immense potential for informing evidence-based decision-making in fisheries management, conservation strategies, and disaster resilience, ultimately paving the way for a more sustainable and resilient maritime future for Indonesia.

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