United Nations
Increase the representation of deep-sea and oceanic habitats in Marine Protected Area Networks of the Asia-Pacific region.
by Planet Deep (Non-governmental organization (NGO))
Deep-sea and oceanic habitats, threats and species are important to consider when designing and evaluating MPAs and MPA networks for biodiversity conservation in Indonesia. These habitats are also often located close to shore due to extreme depth gradients, creating opportunities for ecotourism. In the Coral Triangle (CT), these deep-sea habitats and species include (adapted from Kahn 2008, 2014):

Migratory (and ecological) corridors; canyons, trenches and sills; seamounts, vents and pinnacles; persistent pelagic habitats (e.g. seasonal upwelling zones and oceanic fronts); large-scale current systems; and drop-offs near oceanic islands.
Oceanic cetaceans (migratory and residential species, including blue, sperm, beaked and Brydes whales and oceanic dolphin); marine turtles; oceanic sharks and rays (e.g. whale sharks and mantas), sunfishes, billfish and tuna; diverse yet vulnerable benthic communities associated with seamounts and/or other deep-sea features.

These deep-sea habitats and species are a high priority for conservation, and most CT member states have already committed to protecting them through national legislation (e.g. all marine mammals are protected under national law), as well as through various international treaties (i.e. UN SDG, CBD, CITES), regional action plans (Coral Triangle Initiative Regional Plan of Action) and national species-specific action plans.

Throughout the waters of the Coral Triangle, here are many current and emerging threats to deep-water habitats and species including: increasing fishing pressure (i.e. targeting seamounts and upwelling zones); over-exploitation of oceanic marine life and their prey species; fisheries interactions (e.g. net entanglement and by-catch); accidental ingestion and uptake of marine debris (plastic trash) concentrated in areas of increased ocean productivity (and thus in important habitats for oceanic marine life); ship strikes (i.e. for whale sharks and large cetaceans); acoustic habitat degradation from ocean noise (shipping, seismic surveys, offshore energy); deep-sea mining; and impacts of climate change.

There is now a pressing need for improved management and conservation of these sensitive marine habitats and species. However, their needs are currently under-represented in most marine planning initiatives in all member states of the Coral Triangle. Therefore, it is important to consider deep-sea habitats and species when designing and evaluating MPAs and MPA networks in the Coral Triangle.
Progress reports
December 2020
Assess deep-sea and oceanic habitats (KBAs, EBSAs) that are currently included in existing Marine Protected Areas of the Coral Triangle
December 2021
Assess opportunities to include additional (and highly under-represented) deep-sea and oceanic habitats (incl. KBAs, EBSAs) in current and planned Marine Protected Areas of the Coral Triangle
Financing (in USD)
75,000 USD
Other, please specify
Financing includes start-up funds. Further proposals are under development.
In-kind contribution
Our NGO Experts, other staff time and resources will be contributed in-kind to support this VC.
Basic information
Time-frame: 2018 August - 2022 December
A broad array of marine and policy stakeholders will be involved and collaborated with to achieve the goals of this VC.
Ocean Basins
  • Indian Ocean
  • South Pacific
  • Southern Ocean
Beneficiary countries
Papua New Guinea
Solomon Islands
Other beneficaries
The member countries of the Coral Triangle Initiative: Indonesia Timor Leste Papua New Guinea The Solomon Islands The Philippines Malaysia as well as neighbouring states incl. Australia
Contact information
Benjamin Kahn, Executive Director, kahn.benjamin@gmail.com,
Other SDGs
United Nations