22 December 2008

Marine Buddies: a new google group on Indonesian marine issues

WWF-Indonesia has set up Marine Buddies, a google group to discuss marine issues in Indonesia.
The group discusses various issues from identifying the country's new diving and fishing hotspots to questioning whether they should use aggressive campaigns to preserve the ocean. There are currently 300 people from all walks of life registered for the website's mailing list. The discussion is in both English and Bahasa (Indonesian).

WWF-Indonesia also has a facebook group.

People discover ocean by surfing the web
Dicky Christanto, The Jakarta Post 22 Dec 08;
Good news for those who are passionate about the ocean and everything related to its underwater activities: The WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) has set aside more space for ocean aficionados to share their knowledge and concerns.

The website http://groups.google.com/group/marinebuddies aims to gather people who are curious about life underwater.

"Hopefully this curiosity will grow into a sense of caring about the ocean and the life underneath. Thus we could finally do something to preserve the ecosystem," WWF Indonesia marine affairs communications and campaign coordinator Dewi Satriani told The Jakarta Post on Saturday on the sidelines of a gathering of members of the website.

She said that they were discussing various issues starting from identifying the country's new diving and fishing hotspots to questioning whether they should use aggressive campaigns to preserve the ocean.

"In the end the discussions will enrich our knowledge and, in some cases, could also trigger us to take some real action," said Des Safrizal, one of the site's mailing list members.

Safrizal, a photographer, said he received better information about interesting spots for photography from the mailing list than from popular tourism websites.

"From what I have learned, usually those popular websites have a commercial interest in offering a site. So they will end with offering some tourist package that comes with a high price," he said.

According to the WWF, there are currently 300 people from all walks of life registered for the website's mailing list.

"And from that figure, around 20 of them are active members, meaning that they not only read posted articles but also send many of their own," Aulia Rahman of the WWF said.

He said that feedback on the website so far had been useful.

"From the website we know that most of the members are still using their time to read various articles published on the web. So even though we still expect real action in the future, this already serves as good feedback for us," he said.

Indonesia is widely known for having within its waters the richest diversity of coral reef species and fish communities in the world. However, it is also known for being most careless when it comes to guarding and preserving it.

The WWF has recorded that Indonesia experiences losses worth US$3.8 billion each year from poaching and overfishing throughout the country.

"Preservation must be done while upholding law and regulations, and the website could be listed as one way to make people aware of the need to preserve the marine ecosystem," Aulia said.

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