Conservation and Biodiversity
The conservation and biodiversity of Raja Ampat is imperative to the survival of the local people and the marine ecosystem. The archipelago is managed by a Marine Protected Area network, which is shifting the employment of the local population away from unsustainable fishing, towards sustainable ecotourism.
By diving with La Galigo, you are directly supporting the conservation and biodiversity of the local ecosystem and the sustainable development of the local peoples. Upon entry to Raja Ampat, all visitors must pay an entrance fee and receive a marine park tag which is valid for a year. The money collected is divided between tourism development, conservation patrols, and community support projects.
The region is the global epicenter of marine biodiversity and currently under consideration for UNESCO world heritage listing. The Raja Ampat area boasts a recorded 1,427 coral reef fish species and 553 hard coral species to date (75% of the worlds coral species occur in Raja Ampat).
The area is home to many endemic species that can not be found anywhere else in the world, including the ‘Nursalim’s flasher wrasse’, which can be found in the southernmost part of Misool. The male is synonymous for its stunning displays during courtship, often observed in the late afternoon, by fortunate divers to the area.
Manta Matcher – The WildBook for Manta Rays
Got a great photo of a Manta this trip? If you would like to personally contribute to the conservation of the species, then please submit the photo to the MantaMatcher project run by the Marine Megafauna Foundation. Manta rays are widely distributed, migratory, and have unique spot patterning on their underside that can be used to identify individuals. MantaMatcher is the first global online manta ray database, managing manta ray sighting and identifications worldwide. Any diver or snorkeler with a camera can take and upload a manta identification photo. Researchers can also upload and organize individually identified manta rays in the regional populations they are managing. MantaMatcher promotes collaborations, as scientists can now examine if populations are shared between neighboring countries, examine regional and long-distance movements, and examine the lifespans of manta rays.
You can submit your Manta photos at this link here.
The video below is titled “Guardians of Raja Ampat” by Blue Sphere Media this brilliant piece outlines the development of conservation and sustainability in the regency and the role that ecotourism has played thus far.
Below you will find links to some of the organizations involved in the conservation of the Raja Ampat regency – Conservation International and the Raja Ampat Research and Conservation Centre