With more than 17,500 islands, 108,000 kilometers of coastline, and three-quarters of its territory at sea, oceans are central to Indonesia's identity and prosperity. Indonesia is second only to China as the world's largest fishing nation, with a fishery sector that contributes over US$ 27 billion in GDP and 7 million jobs.

Oceans are also critical in mitigating the impact of natural disasters. Coral reefs and mangroves lessen the impact of floods and tsunamis for those who live along the regions, where such protection is worth at least US$ 639 million annually.

Yet, despite the government's efforts to maintain the health and improve the productivity of the country's oceans, there are challenges which continue to threaten the benefits derived from oceans. 38% of the country's marine capture fisheries are overfished, with a large fraction of the domestic small-scale fishing fleet (over 600,000 vessels) unmonitored and unregulated. Around one-third of Indonesia's valuable coral reefs are in poor condition.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 6, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.