WildAid’s mission is to end the illegal wildlife trade in our lifetimes by reducing demand through public awareness campaigns and providing comprehensive marine protection.
WildAid has defined a comprehensive marine enforcement model that focuses on the law enforcement chain, encompassing detection, interception, prosecution, and sentencing of lawbreakers. The law enforcement chain requires that each link function properly and no link is more important than another – the chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
In the Bird’s Head Seascape, WildAid is focused on marine protected area enforcement in Southern Raja Ampat. In addition to having the highest concentration of fish and coral biodiversity found anywhere in the world, the area is geographically isolated and surrounded by open seas, creating an oasis for pelagic fish, while the long beaches of the Daram Islands make ideal turtle nesting areas. The threats facing the area include overfishing by foreigners, destructive fishing practices, turtle/turtle egg harvesting, shark finning, and coral bleaching. Net fishing, live reef-fish trade, and even dynamite fishing have levied extreme damage to some of the area’s reef systems.
In response, WildAid has been working with Coral Reef Alliance, the Misool Eco Resort, and the Misool Conservation Centre to develop a functional ranger patrol and support expansion of marine conservation areas. The locally staffed ranger patrol operates 24 hours a day and now patrols a 1,220 sq km conservation zone, which includes two No-Take Zones, Batbitim Island, and the Daram Islands, as well as the connective corridor between these two zones. The No-Take Zones prohibit removal of anything in the sea including fish, shark fin, sea turtles, shells, and sea turtle eggs, while longlining, gillnetting and other destructive fishing practices are prohibited in the connecting corridor. WildAid has assisted in funding two dedicated speedboats and other necessary equipment for rangers. In addition, rangers work in cooperation with local police to enforce the dive operators’ code of conduct, which includes no anchoring within 60 meters of the reef, no anchoring on the reef, and no littering on the beaches.
For more information on WildAid’s work in Raja Ampat, please see: http://www.wildaid.org/news/wildaid-completes-assessment-key-marine-protected-areas-indonesia
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