Data from the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) shows that the coastal waters of Southeast Asia support an immense biodiversity making the region one of the mega biodiversity hotspots of the world. To the littoral states in Southeast Asia, these coastal waters are important economic assets, supplying food and services, and providing employment for hundreds of thousands of people. In fact, these waters, and the plethora of tropical aquatic ecosystems they engender, have become a cornerstone of the economy of many nations in this region, supporting fisheries and other marine based industries. All these activities and environmental services are totally dependent on the health of the aquatic ecosystems, such as rivers, estuaries, mangroves, sea grasses and coral reefs, that support them one way or another.

Notwithstanding their importance, these areas are currently facing serious threats in the form of declining resources and biodiversity due to negative...

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