The United States and Indonesia are partners in economic development and environmental protection, said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke.
At an event in Muara Baru, a commercial fishing port in North Jakarta, Secretary Locke reviewed joint efforts to prevent illegal and unregulated fishing and witnessed the signing of the first-ever U.S.-Indonesia ocean exploration agreement. He was joined by Indonesia's Coordinating Minister for People's Welfare Agung Laksono, Research and Technology Minister Suharna Surapranata, Secretary for People's Welfare Indroyono Soesilo, and Dr. Gellwyn Jusuf, Director General for Research, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries.
"The extraordinary natural resources in Southeast Asia sustain the lives of hundreds of millions of people living in this region and benefit many millions more worldwide," said Secretary Locke.
While at Muara Baru, Secretary Locke witnessed the signing of the "Indonesia-U.S. Ocean Exploration Partnership," which will help Indonesian scientists, marine resource managers and the public gain a new understanding of the oceans and seas vital to all Indonesians.
The exploration partnership focuses on ocean exploration in Indonesian waters and the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone. The partners entered into the agreement to better understand the marine environment, identify new research questions that will lead to improved ocean management and conservation. This agreement will make the public aware of Indonesia's unique and vital ocean resources.
Secretary Locke called the pact an "important step in a broader U.S.-Indonesia collaboration in science and technology and an important demonstration of the approach urged by President Obama in his June 2009 speech at Cairo University." Secretary Locke also applauded Indonesia's leadership on ocean issues, noting that the Ocean Exploration Partnership is a direct result of last year's World Ocean Conference in Manadao.
Because illegal fishing occurs worldwide, the U.S. and Indonesia also work together to strengthen surveillance and enforcement, including efforts to protect endangered species such as sea turtles, sharks and tuna. The U.S. and Indonesia also work closely on food security issues. They are both important contributors to the Coral Triangle Initiative, a partnership of six Southeast Asian countries directly affected by the decline of coral reefs and the marine life they sustain.
"The health of the environment and health of the economy go hand-in-hand, and the United States is committed to actively partnering with the Republic of Indonesia on issues of vast importance to our two nations, Southeast Asia, and the planet itself," said Secretary Locke. "These include managing sustainable fisheries, conserving the marine environment and fragile coral reefs, and better understanding our still mysterious ocean."