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WWF's effort builds on more than 15 years of continuous presence and learning, both in the region and internationally.

Policy issues—from improved fisheries management to new marine protected areas—underpin decisions affecting the health of the Coral Triangle, and hence many of our activities relate to the legal and trade dimensions of protecting the area.

WWF Philippines Donsol Research Coordinator Elson Aca writing down details of a Whale shark satellite tag into his slate. This is a SPLASH Tag deployed in 2007, it records position only for mapping whale sharks' movements. Donsol, Sorsogon, Bicol, Philippines.

© Jürgen Freund / WWF

Safeguarding the ocean of life
The Coral Triangle is one of the world’s most important marine ecosystems, a 6-million-km2 biological and economic treasure covering the waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, and Timor Leste. But this part of the world continues to face serious threats to its ecological health and productivity.

In recognition of the region’s inestimable value, WWF has been working in the Coral Triangle with the aim of creating more sustainable marine industries such as fisheries, aquaculture and tourism, and improving livelihoods in coastal communities to ensure food security for the future.

A multilateral partnership

A multilateral partnership between the Coral Triangle nations, known as the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF), was established in 2009 to elevate conservation commitments and plans of action to the regional and national levels.

Over the next 5 years, the CTI-CFF has generated almost US$1.4 billion in funding for the Coral Triangle, and paved the way for more regional collaboration platforms such as the Coral Triangle Fishers Forum, the Coral Triangle Multimedia Network, and the Regional Business Forum.

Through these platforms and other strategies, WWF is committed to help Coral Triangle governments, industry and communities to nurture blue economies — sustainable economies where economic development based on the ocean and marine resources contributes to long-term prosperity, sustainability and resilience of the region into the future and which promote responsible practices for equitable benefits.

Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management

Consistent with the CTI-CFF’s Regional Plan of Action, WWF also advocates the Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM), which seeks to balance environmental protection and human well-being in practical, sustainable ways, and by looking at fisheries in relation to their specific environment.

To concretise this vision, goals have been set for the Coral Triangle Programme for 2020.
  • For biodiversity, at least 10% of Coral Triangle marine habitats must be sustainably and equitably managed.
  • Fisheries, aquaculture, and marine tourism must have reduced footprints, with social and ecological systems achieving greater resilience.
  • For human well-being, people will benefit from enhanced food security, sustainable incomes, and improved livelihood opportunities—the results of more resilient marine ecosystems.
These goals are approached via 3 main strategies:
  • supporting policy and advocacy for effective natural resource management;
  • catalyzing innovation and business transformation in the fields of fisheries, aquaculture, and tourism;
  • and maximizing marketing and communications to spur key stakeholders to action.
Innovative Mechanisms
WWF’s regional work in the Coral Triangle is targeting focal areas that will provide significant conservation and socio economic outcomes using innovative mechanisms such as:
  • The Asia Pacific Sustainable Seafood Network (APSSN) - a business-oriented platform focused on Fisheries and Aquaculture Improvement Projects and capacity building for sustainable fisheries.
  • The Tuna Blueprint - a strategy for rescuing Pacific bluefin and other endangered tuna species from overfishing.
  • The String of Pearls - a showcase of collaborative approaches to Ecosystem management that achieve multiple objectives: Biodiversity protection; restoration of Ecosystems/Fisheries; Livelihoods (e.g. Fisheries, Tourism); Food security, and Coastal protection through well designed, effective MPAs /networks of LMMAs
  • Watch Our Seas - a mobile phone application under development that will allow coastal communities to easily report poaching and illegal fishing activities.
  • Tourism - a set of strategies to bring about responsible coastal and marine tourism in the Coral Triangle by partnering with the cruise ship industry in minimising its footprint on sensitive ecological areas and communities and developing a Nature-based Tourism framework to promote low-impact, low-volume, high-value nature-based tourism experiences in this part of the world.
Moreover, WWF in the Coral Triangle has piloted Fisheries Improvement Projects across the region, employing such tools as financial plans, traceability systems, and an electronic catch documentation scheme that could dramatically reduce IUU.


WWF’s work in the Coral Triangle is being carried out in service of one clear and over-arching vision: to one day see that “the oceans and coasts of the Coral Triangle, the world’s centre of marine biodiversity, are vibrant and healthy, within a changing climate, building resilience of communities, food security and contributing to improved quality of life for generations to come.”