coral triangle

Coral Triangle – The Richest Marine Habitat on Earth under Threat [2022]

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Coral Triangle

The Coral Triangle is a marine area that includes parts of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste. It is home to at least 600 species of reef-building corals. The Indonesian-Philippines Region and the Far Southwestern Pacific Region are both parts of the Coral Triangle.

Coral reefs are an important part of the marine environment and play a vital role in both the global economy and the health of the planet. They provide a home for many species of fish, coral, and other marine life, as well as a source of tourism revenue. Coral reefs are also essential for carbon sequestration, providing a valuable sink for greenhouse gas emissions.


The Coral Triangle Numbers 

  • Area- 6 million km2 
  • 76% of the world’s coral species
  • Six of the world’s seven marine turtle species
  • Sustains 120 million people
  • US$12 billion nature-based tourism industry (yearly)

The Coral Triangle is in a part of the world that has become one of the most important economic hubs. Rapid population growth and economic growth have led to unsustainable development along the coast and a rise in the demand for expensive marine resources like tuna, shark fin, turtle products, and live reef fish.

Why the Coral Triangle (and not a circle)?

The Coral Triangle is made up of marine zones with at least 600 species of reef-building coral. On the map above, the darkest area that looks like a triangle in pink shade is the Triangle area. Certain neighbouring nations, like Australia and Fiji, have extensive coral biodiversity as well, but in smaller quantities. 

Scientists and conservationists used the following criteria to define the Coral Triangle:

  • High species biodiversity (about 600 coral species, as well as a diverse range of reef fishes, foraminifera, fungoid corals, and stomatopods) and habitat diversity
  • Oceanography (currents)

So it is the region of marine life in the western Pacific Ocean. The waters of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste, and the Solomon Islands are includedSeventy-five per cent of the world’s coral species can be found here, with almost 600 different species of reef-building corals alone. The region is home to six of the world’s seven marine turtle species, as well as mangrove forests and over 2000 reef fish species.

Whales, Tuna, Dugong, Humphead wrasse, Dolphins, and Porpoises are some of the other species. It is also home to a lot of commercially important tuna, which helps fuel a global tuna industry worth billions of dollars. Over 120 million people live in this area, and their food, income, and safety from storms depend on the coral reefs there. Over 2,000 languages are spoken in these waters, and the sea is a very important part of many cultures.

coral triangle
coral triangle

Coral Triangle biodiversity


  • The Triangle has the most coral species of any place in the world. It is home to 605 of the world’s 798 coral species.
  • The Bird’s Head Peninsula in Indonesian Papua has 574 species of coral, which is 95% of the Triangle’s total and 72% of the world’s total. This is the centre of coral diversity. With 553 different kinds of coral, the Raja Ampat archipelago, which is part of the Bird’s Head Peninsula, is the world’s coral diversity bull’s eye.
  • There are 15 coral species that are only found in the Coral Triangle and nowhere else in the world. The Coral Triangle and Asia share 41 coral species that are only found in those two places.
  • There are more coral reef fish species in the Coral Triangle than anywhere else in the world. It has 37 per cent (2,228) of the world’s 6,000 coral reef fish species and 56 per cent of the Indo-Pacific region’s coral reef fish species (4,050).
  • Eight per cent of the coral reef fishes in the Coral Triangle, or 235 species, are endemic or only found in a small area. Four places in the Coral Triangle, the Lesser Sunda Islands, Papua New Guinea-Solomon Islands, Bird’s Head Peninsula, and the Central Philippines, have a lot of unique species.
coral reef
coral reef

Marine turtles 

Six of the seven species of marine turtles in the world, including the leatherback marine turtle, live in places like the Northern Bird’s Head Peninsula / Waigeo region, Papua (Indonesia), Lea region (Papua New Guinea), New Georgia, and the Gulf of Thailand (Solomon Islands).

Economic growth brings new pressures on the Coral Triangle.

The Triangle is part of a region that has evolved as one of the world’s economic powerhouses. Rapid population and economic expansion have fueled unsustainable coastal development and increased demand for high-priced marine resources like tuna, shark fin, turtle products, and live reef fish.

The problem now is to guarantee that the region’s expanding requirements do not render the Coral Triangle’s wonders obsolete.


  • Overfishing: The high demand for tuna around the world drives the fishing industry to catch too much of it, which has caused tuna stocks in the Coral Triangle to drop at an alarming rate. Live reef fish, which have been sold as expensive food in Southeast Asia for a long time, have also grown quickly.
  • Many people still use destructive fishing methods like poisoning fish with cyanide, fishing with dynamite, and blasting.
  • Bycatch: Gillnets, longlines, and trawls all catch fish that aren’t what the fishermen are looking for. These fish are then thrown back into the sea. In the Coral Triangle, this kind of bycatch hurts marine turtles, sharks, and young fish that are on the verge of extinction.
  • Climate Change: Warming, rising seas, and acidification of the ocean have led to widespread bleaching of coral reefs, sea-level rise, acidification of seawater, and destruction of mangroves. This puts marine animals like reef fish, and marine turtles in danger, hurts local jobs like fishing and tourism and removes a natural barrier that protects coastal towns and villages from rising seas and worsening storms.

Coral Triangle Initiative

The Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security (CTI-CFF) is a partnership between six countries that works to protect marine and coastal resources by tackling important problems like food security, climate change, and the loss of marine biodiversity.

In 2009, Indonesian President Yudhoyono realised how important it was to protect the region’s marine and coastal resources. He convinced other leaders in the area to sign the Leaders Declaration and start the Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security (CTI-CFF).

It is the first multilateral cooperation of its kind, with a focus on ensuring food security through the sustainable management of marine natural resources and taking climate change into account. The CTI-CFF was created in 2009, and the governments of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste (the “CT6”), which are in charge of the Coral Triangle area, are members.



Coral reefs are one of the most important ecosystems on Earth. They are home to a huge diversity of marine life and provide vital economic benefits to coastal communities.

Coral reefs play a crucial role in protecting coastlines from storms and erosion. They also support tourism and fishing industries, providing jobs and income for millions of people.

The health of coral reefs is under threat from climate change, overfishing and pollution. If we want to protect these valuable ecosystems, we need to take action to reduce the impacts of climate change and promote sustainable fishing practices.

In conclusion, the Coral Triangle is an incredibly important region for marine biodiversity and should be a focus of conservation efforts. The region is home to more than 3,000 species of fish, 600 species of coral, and countless other marine creatures. It’s also important for human populations, providing food, jobs, and other resources. By protecting the Coral Triangle, we can ensure the health of its ecosystems and the benefits they provide to people and wildlife.


What is the Coral Triangle known for?

Coral Triangle is the world’s richest Marine biodiversity region. The Coral Triangle is a region in the Pacific Ocean that is known for its high marine biodiversity. The region is home to more than 3,000 species of fish, 600 species of coral, and countless other marine creatures. The Coral Triangle is also important for its role in providing food and livelihoods for millions of people.

Where is the Coral Triangle, and why is it significant?

The Coral Triangle is located in the Pacific Ocean, and it encompasses the marine area that includes parts of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste. The Coral Triangle is significant because it is home to the world’s highest diversity of coral species, and it is also a vital source of food for local communities. In addition, the Coral Triangle is one of the most threatened regions on Earth due to climate change and overfishing.

Is Australia in the Coral Triangle?

The Coral Triangle is a region in the Western Pacific Ocean that is known for its high biodiversity and abundance of coral reefs. The triangle includes parts of Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, and Timor-Leste. Australia is not technically in the Coral Triangle, but it does share a border with Papua New Guinea. The Coral Triangle is a vital area for marine life and supports a large number of people who rely on the ocean for their livelihood.

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