Conservation Spotlight: The Coral Triangle Center (CTC)

Marine conservation organization the Coral Triangle Center is working to preserve the area’s incredibly rich biodiversity.

Known for its incredible marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle includes the waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands. Based in Indonesia, the Coral Triangle Center works to protect this rich ecosystem. Today we’re chatting with Julia Pratiwi Tahija, the marketing and communications officer for the Coral Triangle Center, about the agency’s mission and projects.

What is the Coral Triangle Center doing?

The Coral Triangle Center (CTC) is an independent, nonprofit foundation based in Indonesia. It is dedicated to protecting coral-reef ecosystems for future generations. CTC provides education, training and knowledge-sharing services to sustainably manage the Coral Triangle’s rich marine heritage. CTC also supports on-the-ground conservation programs through its learning sites in the Nusa Penida Marine Protected Area in Bali and the Banda Islands Marine Protected Areas network in the Moluccas in Indonesia.

How did CTC start?

Founded as a program of the Nature Conservancy, CTC launched as an independent entity in 2010, and began operations in 2011. It became evident that building local capacity in the Coral Triangle was among important to advance marine conservation. We needed to share and customize the strengths of adaptive coastal and marine-resources management and scientific approaches to local actors. We needed to align with local traditions and marine tenure.

The Coral Triangle is the world’s richest underwater environment, with 75 percent of the world’s coral species. It is home to 2,000 different types of reef fish and iconic marine animals such as manta rays, sea turtles and whales. The region’s reefs also provide food security and coastal protection for millions of people in Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, and beyond.

However, the future of the Coral Triangle’s coral reefs is in question. Human activities, such as dynamite fishing, overfishing and pollution threaten 95 percent of all reefs. If reefs are not safeguarded, such destructive practices will lead to the devastation of coral and marine life.

Given these urgent threats, there is a critical need to raise awareness. We must enable various stakeholders, such as local communities, marine-protected area managers, students, female leaders, local-government leaders and policymakers to help protect the marine resources in their localities. CTC believes this can be done through training and learning. We support on-site learning in marine-protected areas and learning networks. We also engage students and the private sector to pitch in for marine conservation.

What are some of the CTC’s action areas? 

The CTC Strategic Team consists of 27 employees. Some of them are training specialists on marine conservation and holding workshops for community groups and government staff. Others manage CTC’s learning sites (Marine Protected Areas) in Nusa Penida and the Banda Islands. Some focus on establishing CTC’s Center for Marine Conservation, community outreach events and learning networks.

We provide a range of training courses on marine and coastal-management topics for a wide variety of practitioners, from government staff to community groups, and private-sector industries to tourism operators.

We are also working on the establishment of our Coral Triangle Center for Marine Conservation. Our learning center will be open to everybody from conservation practitioners to school children, industry leaders to tourists. We welcome anyone who wants to learn about the Coral Triangle’s challenges, and their own role in implementing the solutions to help preserve and protect our coral reefs.

CTC also provides reef health monitoring training and certifications to dive operators. When the training is completed, dive operators can train their guests to conduct reef-health monitoring. We also work with dive operators to ensure that they implement marine-protected area zoning regulations and follow codes of conduct for wildlife interaction. We work with dive businesses to enable their guests to directly contribute to marine conservation through our adopt-a-coral program.

How can people help? 

People can help save the Coral Triangle region and support CTC by:

  • Joining our reef-health monitoring expedition in Nusa Penida in Bali and Banda Islands in the Moluccas
  • Supporting our Adopt-a-Coral program
  • Joining one of our Fun Learning activities
  • Volunteering with CTC at our office in Bali and in our field learning sites
  • Partnering with us to bring our youth-based marine education and outreach activities to a wider group of students
  • Becoming a Friend-of-CTC through our monthly/annual donation program