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The Seas of East Asia and PEMSEA Sites

Last modified April 01, 2009

PEMSEA's geographic coverage includes the 6 subregional seas of the East Asian region, including the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, South China Sea, Sulu-Sulawesi and Indonesian Sea, as well as the Gulf of Thailand. They are semi-enclosed with a total sea area of 7 million km2, a coastline of 234,000 km and a total watershed area of about 8.6 million km2. These seas are ecologically and economically important both regionally and globally.

Sustainable Development of Coastal and Marine Resources and Areas of the Seas of East Asia  

The Seas of East Asia sustain 30 percent of the world's coral reefs and mangroves; produce about 40 percent of the world's fish catch and 84 percent of world aquaculture; and represent one of the world's centers for tropical marine biodiversity. However, the Seas of East Asia are under serious threat from human activities. Integrated coastal management (ICM) has proven to be an effective tool for national and local governments, providing a comprehensive and holistic approach to solving the many conflicting uses of coastal and marine resources. ICM is a process that encourages all stakeholders to plan, develop and implement a management program designed to achieve the sustainable development of coastal and marine resources, as well as adjacent watersheds.


Eight demonstration sites were established, covering a total of 917 km of coastline and 15,118km2 of land and sea areas. The inherent flexibility of ICM enables it to be re-created and adopted by local communities, as well as larger administrative regions, to fit the complexity and urgency of issues being addressed.

Learning from the experience of the demonstration sites, 20 other local government units in the region began to replicate the ICM programs. A total of 1,674 km of coastline and 27,508 km2 of land and and sea area have now been covered by ICM, benefitting over 11 million inhabitants.

PEMSEA Partners are targeting to cover 20 percent of the regional coastline through replication of ICM practices by 2015.