INDONESIA on Sunday declared the coral-rich waters around Bali - a popular scuba diving spot which is home to the giant Mola-Mola ocean sunfish - a protected zone.
The 20,000-hectare area around Nusa Penida, Nusa Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan islands will be protected from destructive fishing, waste dumping and coral mining, project leader Marthen Welly told AFP.
'Destructive fishing is carried out by fishermen using cyanide and explosives,' Welly of the conservation group The Nature Conservancy (TNC) said.
'Many ships also throw anchors on the coral reefs and hotels and households dump wastes causing water pollution. Now they can't do these anymore,' he said.
Guidelines for marine tourism will also be drawn up and zones carved out for various activities including fishing, tourism and seaweed mining, Mr Welly said.
'We'll need to consult the community further and we hope to do this within six months,' he added.