20 Sep 2006

Time needed for marie parks to be set up off Papua

7:24 pm on 20 September 2006

The local director of Conservation International in the Indonesian province of Papua says it could take some time to establish protected marine areas for the Bird's Head Seascape.

Pak Ketut Putra says he has presented the findings of several surveys to the national Marine Affairs department which shows the area is highly significant and needs protection.

It has been described as the centre of marine bio-diversity of the planet with many new species being discovered, and even richer in life than the Great Barrier Reef.

Mr Putra says at the moment, there is no management of most of the seascape, apart from a small section which is included in a national park.

He says he is concerned because pressure will come from commercial fishing fleets which could take away resources from local communities if the area is not protected.

"Our focus actually - to have the local government and local community to design a good marine protected areas in order to conserve and manage the good marine reserve."

Mr Putra says there has been a positive response both locally and nationally to the proposals to protect the area.