Coral Triangle

The Coral Triangle, the global centre of marine biodiversity, is a 6 million km2 area spanning Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor Leste and the Solomon Islands.

Within this nursery of the seas live 76% of the world’s coral species, 6 of the world’s 7 marine turtle species, and at least 2,228 reef fish species.

Discover the place, the threat it faces, and what WWF is doing to protect this nursery of the seas.

What is the Coral Triangle?

Born out of the collision of tropical light, warm sea temperatures and oceanic currents, the Coral Triangle is defined by a triangular area with more than 500 coral species.

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Why is the Coral Triangle important?

The staggering natural productivity of the Coral Triangle region not only makes it unique for its wildlife and marine and coastal ecosystems, but also for the benefits derived for local communities and governments. Consider this:
  • 120 million: people directly sustained by the marine and coastal resources of the Coral Triangle
  • US$2.4 billion: sustainable fisheries benefit for all of Southeast Asia from coral reefs1
  • US$12 billion: size of the Coral Triangle nature-based tourism industry, which includes sites such as Tubbataha, Komodo, Sipadan (East Borneo), and Raja Ampat
» I want to find out more about the Coral Triangle and what WWF is doing to protect the region

There are serious problems

Rising temperature from global warming may cause higher rates of coral mortality and even local extinction in isolated, small populations. The 1997-98 El Niño weather event triggered the largest worldwide coral bleaching event ever recorded. In Southeast Asia, an estimated 18% of the region's coral reefs were damaged or destroyed.1

Meanwhile, across the Indo-Pacific region, 79% of spawning aggregations (reproductive gatherings) of reef fish have stopped forming or are in decline.2 Tuna, shark fin, turtle products and reef fish are also being taken out of the water at unsustainable rates.

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	© Coral Geographic (Veron et al unpublished data).
Coral Triangle Boundary
© Coral Geographic (Veron et al unpublished data).
1 Burke, Lauretta, Liz Selig, and Mark Spalding. 2002. Reefs at Risk in Southeast Asia. UNEP-WCMC, Cambridge, UK

2 Sadovy de Mitcheson Y et al. 2008. A Global Baseline for Spawning Aggregations of Reef Fishes. Conservation Biology. Vol 22 (5), pp 1233-1244.

Coral Triangle facts

    • 6 million km2 area
    • 76% of the world’s coral species
    • 6 of the world’s 7 marine turtle species
    • Sustains 120 million people
    • US$1 billion in tuna exports annually

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