Patrol Update from Raja Ampat’s Marine Park Authority August, 2021 Updated by: Allan Fredrik Ramandey*
With the extension of travel restrictions due to the Covid-19’s pandemic in Indonesia, especially for Java and Bali (after seeing some slight increase earlier this year), tourism activities in Raja Ampat have once again declined – as you can see from the numbers of tourism-related utilization data from the past months.
Fisheries activities, however, only decreased significantly during April and May last year, and have now gradually increased; especially relating to fishermen coming from outside Raja Ampat.
Raja Ampat Marine Park Authority’s** park rangers – officially named ‘Jaga Laut’ – conducted a total of 55 patrols from eight monitoring posts spread over seven Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and encountered five violations during August, 2021. Here are some of those highlights.
Asia and Ayau Islands Marine Protected Area
Rangers from Asia and Ayau Islands MPA conducted eight patrols this month, and did not find any violations. Resources Use Monitoring (RUM) data were recorded from all the MPA’s beneficiaries met.
Mayalibit Bay MPA
In August, Jaga Laut from Mayalibit Bay MPA conducted a total of five patrols and did not find any violations within the bay or beyond. RUM data were collected from all the MPA’s beneficiaries encountered this month.
Dampier Strait MPA
A total of ten patrols were conducted out of the two monitoring posts in the Dampier Strait MPA, Gam and Yenaduak. Gam encountered one violation, while Yenaduak did not find any. Jaga Laut from Gam Monitoring Post were also involved in an evacuation process of a dead whale on the 26th of August, 2021.
The violation was encountered during a patrol on the 21st of August, 2021, when a fishermen’s boat caught fishing in a dive spot called Chicken Reef, which is located in Tourism and Food Security Sub-zone. Rangers then provided them him with information regarding zoning system in the MPA, before directing him to sail away from the mentioned sub-zone.
Based on an information received on the 25th of August, 2021, rangers from Gam Monitoring Post set out to search for the carcass of a whale reported floating nearby a homestay. During the search that day, additional information was received stating that the said whale had floated to nearby Arborek Village due to the strong current.
The following day, rangers with representatives from two offices of Ministry of Marine and Fisheries located in Raja Ampat, and two locals from Sawinggrai Village, headed to the whale carcass’s location, where they set up a sort of tow to carry it elsewhere.
The evacuation team decided to transport the carcass to a nearby mangrove area in a location called Warbeki. This move was made so that the natural decomposition process can commence smoothly. The dead whale itself, measured up to 12 meters in length, and up to 3 meters in width.
Misool Islands MPA
In August, rangers from Misool Islands MPA conducted a total of seven patrols, and encountered two violations in the 03rd and 04th of the month respectively. The first violation encountered was related to illegal fishing gear, a type of long line, prohibited to be used within MPAs in Raja Ampat – and for which he was directed to sail away from the MPA, subsequent to RUM data collection.
While the violation on 04th of August was when a fishermen from nearby village was found fishing within the Tourism and Food Security Sub-zone. Jaga Laut provided the explanation related to borders of the no take zone in Misool Islands MPA, collected data for RUM, before directing him to move on from the mentioned sub-zone.
Kofiau–Boo Islands MPA
Kofiau-Boo Islands MPA’s rangers patrolled the area nine times in August, and encountered one violation on the 31st of August, 2021. The violation was when rangers caught a fishing boat without proper licenses. This violation falls under the category of Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated (IUU) Fishing.
After a thorough check on board the fishing boat, rangers then provided information regarding Raja Ampat’s MPAs Network in general, and emphasized that fishing boats without proper licenses are not allowed within the MPAs, before directing him to sail away from the area.
Fam Islands MPA
Rangers from Fam Islands MPA conducted eight patrols in August, 2021, and did not find any violations during those patrols. However, on the 28th of August, during a patrol which took the route of Yar Island and Mangginan Island, Jaga Laut found two finless sharks in the shallow water eastward of Inus Island.
The sad discovery emphasized the fact that shark finning still occurs in Raja Ampat. After the patrol, Fam Island’s rangers asked people in the villages for information that might shed some lights regarding this discovery.
West Waigeo Islands Marine Reserve
Rangers from Wayag Monitoring Post in West Waigeo Islands Marine Reserve patrolled the area eight times this month, and did not find any violation during those patrols.
However, one violation was encountered when rangers were on duty in the monitoring post on the 22nd of August. Around 30 visitors were caught without entrance fee, and during the period of restriction of tourism activities due to the pandemic.
Rangers took documentation of the mentioned activity, then provided explanations related to the restriction and the obligation for entrance fee, before politely asked them to leave after they finish their lunch.
For your information, West Waigeo Islands Marine Reserve is formally under the direct authority of the central government’s Ministry of Marine and Fisheries, while Raja Ampat Marine Park Authority provided technical assistances, such as patrol activity and all the related aspects, for this particular MPA.
The Marine Park Authority itself works under the West Papua Province Government’s Marine and Fisheries Agency, and has authority over the other six MPAs in Raja Ampat (For more information on Raja Ampat’s MPAs Network, kindly visit www.kkprajaampat.com for Bahasa Indonesia, or www.rajaampatmarinepark.com).
Those were the update from seven MPAs patrolled by Raja Ampat Marine Park Authority for August, 2021. Hope you enjoyed it.
On behalf of all the staff in Raja Ampat Marine Park’s Authority, we wish you all happiness and fine health! See you in our next update.
Thank you very much for your time, attention, and kind support – as always.
* Data and Information Staff for Raja Ampat’s Marine Park Authority
** The official name for Raja Ampat’s Marine Park Authority is Badan Layanan Umum Daerah Unit Pelaksana Teknis Daerah (BLUD UPTD) Pengelolaan Kawasan Konservasi Perairan (KKP) Kepulauan Raja Ampat.