in Raja Ampat
In the heart of the ‘Coral Triangle’ Raja Ampat is an area of outstanding importance for coral reefs. Three-quarters of the planet’s hard corals exist in 46,000 km2, only 10% the area of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
“The Coral Triangle nations are at the epicenter of marine biodiversity globally. Millions of people depend on the bounty of these seas – and the sea, in turn, depends on them. Almost half the reefs have died over recent decades due to multiple threats of pollution, overfishing, destructive fishing, coastal development and climate change. If the Coral Triangle reefs disappear, millions of livelihoods and whole cultures will perish with them, and such devastating loss would impact economies and ecological systems all around the world”
Coral Triangle Centre
Raja Ampat includes a network of seven marine protected areas (MPAs) in West Papua, Indonesia.
The area includes four large islands (Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Misool), hundreds of smaller islands and the Dampier and Sagewin strait.
Indonesia consists of 16 056 islands with a major oceanic exchange between the Pacific and Indian Ocean and Raja Ampat is strongly influenced by it. These water routes are used by many whales and dolphins, to migrate from one Ocean to the other, however not much is known about the species.
First impressions …
In 2015 we were kindly invited as business partners to assess the marine mammal species in this area and evaluate tourism activities for whales and dolphins in Raja Ampat.
We found over 18 different species of marine mammals.
On follow-up visits we could gather more information and meet people to support a marine mammal research and conservation project. Dr. Vester has since visited the polytechincal University in Sorong and has spoken with Dr. Kadarusman and others to start a collaboration – more info will follow!