HEALTHY SEA TO REALIZE
THE BLUE ECONOMY IN RIAU ISLANDS

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Hello Ecology Friends!

Did you know that ? The Blue Economy concept is currently in the global spotlight regarding efforts to create a marine and fisheries-based economy while preserving the marine environment.

Since the introduction of the Blue Economy concept by Gunter Pauli in 2010 through his book entitled “The Blue Economy, 10 Years, 100 Innovations, 100 Millions Jobs”, Indonesia has increasingly promoted the implementation of this concept in an effort to improve the economy of the Indonesian people, especially coastal communities.

But wait,

What is the Blue Economy?

The term Blue Economy according to the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in 2012, Syarif Cicip Sutardjo is a new paradigm/concept that aims to generate economic growth from the marine and fisheries sector, while ensuring the sustainability of resources and the coastal and oceanic environment. Launching from the World Bank, the Blue Economy is a concept that encourages the sustainable use of marine resources to increase economic growth, thereby increasing welfare and employment opportunities while maintaining the quality of the economy and marine ecosystems. Quoting from the website of the Directorate General of Marine Spatial Management, Minister Sakti Wahyu Trenggono said the importance of creating a healthy, safe, resilient, and productive sea for the welfare of the nation with a Blue Economy development strategy that focuses on ecological and economic considerations on activities that settle in marine space.

In Indonesia, the implementation of the Blue Economy concept began during the reign of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and was then reaffirmed during the reign of President Joko Widodo. Regarding the current implementation of the Blue Economy, the Ministry of Marine and Fisheries has launched several programs in 2021-2024 to support a sustainable Indonesian economy.

The first program is a measured fishing policy with an environmentally friendly pattern. This will be done by involving elements of conservation, limiting the number of vessels that may catch fish, prohibiting overfishing, and calculating the potential in each fishing area. In addition, the Ministry of Marine and Fisheries regulates fishing areas in the Fisheries Management Area in a zone and quota system intended for industry, local fishermen, and hobbyists. The second program is export-oriented cultivation. This program is carried out through the revitalization of traditional ponds to become more modern so that they are more productive and environmentally friendly. The third is to build a cultivation village based on local wisdom to alleviate poverty and protect local fishery commodities of high economic value from extinction.

As a maritime country, Indonesia has high natural resource potential, especially marine and fishery resources. Launching from the website of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, in the Indonesian seas there are 8,500 species of fish, 555 species of seaweed, and 950 species of coral reefs. Therefore, Indonesia is known as a country with the largest marine biodiversity in the world (marine mega-biodiversity).

Well, Friends of Ecology, one of the provinces in Indonesia that has a high wealth of marine resources is Riau Islands. Riau Islands with an area dominated by waters (96%) which is around 417,005,054.9 km2 and a coastline length of about 2,367.6 km, of course, has undoubted marine and fishery potential. The potential for marine biodiversity in the Riau Islands consists of various marine fisheries products, mangroves, marine and coastal tourism, coral reefs, seaweed, and various other marine biota. In addition, non-biological resources such as oil, natural gas, and mineral mining materials are also contained in Riau Islands sea so as to support the regional economic potential.

By utilizing marine resources as a source of community economics, such as fishery products, marine tourism, sea transportation, etc., it is hoped that it can help increase the income of both coastal communities and the people of Riau Islands in general. Of course, this is done in an environmentally friendly manner and still pays attention to the sustainability of the marine environment so that it can actualize the sustainable economy in Riau Islands. This is in accordance with the objectives of the 14th Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Program, namely Life Below Water.

In order to realize the Blue Economy, it is necessary to optimize the management of marine resources to get maximum results. By maintaining the sustainability of marine ecosystems, people can use marine resources to meet their daily needs continuously so that sustainable development can be realized.

However, realizing the Blue Economy is certainly not easy. There are many challenges that must be faced by the Riau Islands in order to be able to apply this concept optimally. Although the government and other organizations have tried various ways in terms of managing marine ecosystems, there are still many areas that are not reached or have not been considered, especially coastal areas and small islands.

It is important to note that many parts of the sea have been damaged, either due to anthropogenic pressure or natural physical conditions. The sea is damaged due to global warming which results in climate change so that it has an impact on the disruption of marine ecosystems. In addition, human activities such as the use of explosives and poisons in catching fish, industrial waste, oil spills from ships (oil spill), offshore oil drilling activities, and waste disposal into the sea will eventually pollute aquatic ecosystems and damage biota. -biota underneath. As a result, marine sustainability is disrupted and has an impact on human survival, especially those who depend on marine and fishery products (coastal communities).

Proper management is needed to maintain and preserve the marine ecosystem of the Riau Archipelago. Various efforts such as the establishment of protected areas or Regional Conservation Areas have been promoted by the Riau Islands government to protect aquatic ecosystems. The conservation of these waters is not only intended to protect marine ecosystems, but also to provide economic benefits to the community. One of these conservation efforts is carried out in Bintan Regency as one of the areas in the Riau Islands that has high marine resources with the proposed category as Aquatic Tourism Park managed by the Riau Islands Provincial Government.

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