Patrol Update from Raja Ampat’s Marine Park Authority* November, 2021 Updated by: Allan Fredrik Ramandey**
Closing in towards the end of the year 2021, this November’s patrol update from Raja Ampat Marine Park Authority’s rangers – or officially named ‘Jaga Laut’ – marks the 22nd update beginning with the first one in June, 2020.
November, perhaps due to couple of lockdowns applied this year that limited events’ organizing, was a busy month for us, as there were several other activities conducted besides regular patrols – which is good, and one other reason to be grateful for this year.
Anyway, dear Readers, in general we’d conducted a total of 39 patrols throughout seven MPAs in November, and managed to find 14 violations. Here is the update for November, the last one in 2021.
Asia and Ayau Islands Marine Protected Area
Five patrols were conducted by the Jaga Laut from Asia and Ayau Islands MPA this month, which recorded two violations – zoning-related and permit-related.
All five violations were found on the same day, 24th of November 2021, during a patrol to the southern waters surrounding Ayau Besar and Ayau Kecil islands, a fishing boat originating from beyond Raja Ampat were caught within the no-take zone, and without the proper permits.
Members of the Jaga Laut quickly halted the vessel, interviewed the crews for Resources Use Monitoring (RUM) data, and asked the Bitung-origin vessel to sail away from the MPA.
Mayalibit Bay MPA
Jaga Laut from Mayalibit Bay MPA patrolled the area five times and did not find any violations nor suspicious incidents this month. RUM data were taken from all the MPA’s beneficiaries encountered throughout November, 2021.
Dampier Strait MPA
Gam and Yenaduak monitoring posts from Dampier Strait MPA conducted a combined eight patrols this month, with rangers from Gam finding one violation, while Yenaduak discovered a total of four violations.
On the 15th of November, Jaga Laut from Gam Monitoring Post encountered one liveaboard (LoB) vessel called the Sea Safari 8 in Manta Sandy, all the passengers were without entrance fee cards. Due to the vessel’s repeated behaviour in not complying to the Raja Ampat MPAs’ regulation on entrance fee, rangers directly asked them to leave Manta Sandy.
The Yenaduak Monitoring Post, found one violation on the 16th of November 2021. One local fishing boat was caught within the Tourism and Food Security Sub-zone – a no-take zone. Three other violations were caught on the 20th of November 2021, when fishing boats were found within an area prohibited for fishing, declared so through a traditional mechanism called Sasi, by the nearby villages.
Misool Islands MPA
Rangers from Misool Islands MPA, one of the busiest MPAs in Raja Ampat in terms of fisheries and tourism along with Dampier Strait MPA, patrolled seven times this month and found one violation where illegal fishing equipment was used, and five zoning-related violations. Those findings were encountered on the 16th, 17th, and 19th.
On the 16th of November, local fishermen was caught using air compressor. Jaga Laut then provided an information related to the rules and regulations which bans the use of such fisheries tool, before asking them to sail away from the MPA.
Zoning violations were found on the 17th of November when four fishing boats from one of the nearby villages were caught within the Tourism and Food Security Sub-zone. RUM data were taken from all the boats, information was provided, and all were directed to sail away from the mentioned sub-zone.
The last zoning-related violation was found on the 19th when a tourism vessel was caught, stating that they were there for dive sites surveying. Rangers did not allow them to proceed as they could not provide the required permits for such activity, and directed them to return to Waisai for the permits.
Kofiau–Boo Islands MPA
Kofiau-Boo Islands MPA were patrolled eight times in November, 2021, and did not find any violations nor suspicious incidents. RUM data were taken from all the MPA’s beneficiaries encountered this month.
Fam Islands MPA
Fam Islands MPA’s rangers conducted a total of two patrols this month, and did not find any violations. RUM data were taken from all the MPA’s users met.
West Waigeo Islands Marine Reserve
Rangers from Wayag Monitoring Post in West Waigeo Islands Marine Reserve conducted a total of four patrols this month, and found one violation on the 11th of November when a tourism vessel was caught with five passengers without entrance fee.
Rangers then directed them to communicate with our office in Waisai to settle this issue. But, since resolution was yet to be reached after few hours of coordination, members of Jaga Laut asked them to leave the MPA until the issue was resolved.
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 provides technical assistance, such as patrol activity and all the related aspects, for this particular MPA. It’s management is officially run by the ministry’s technical implementation unit located in Waisai.
While Raja Ampat Marine Park’s Authority itself is nested under the West Papua Province Government’s Marine and Fisheries Agency, and formally 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).
Activity Updates from Our Headquarter in Waisai and Other Activities
Consistent with our prior updates, we would like to share our ‘other’ activities beside patrolling the MPAs. All these activities are part of our efforts, which involve our valued partners and collaborators, to increase the effectiveness in managing the MPAs in Raja Ampat.
Workshop on MPA Management and Assessment on Certification of Competence of MPA Management
In relation to implementation of development of marine tourism and low carbon development as ways of utilizing MPAs by the communities in Raja Ampat, Terangi Foundation organized two consecutive activities. On the 03rd and 04th of November, a workshop was conducted in Sorong, while assessment on certification of competence was held on the 05th and 06th.
Both activities involved participants from several government institutions, from the Ministry of Marine and Fisheries’ technical units working for Raja Ampat, the West Papua Province Government’s Marine and Fisheries Agency, to academicians from Sorong’s Marine and Fisheries Polytechnic and Ecotourism Faculty from University of Papua, and several community groups from Raja Ampat as well.
Both activities were a part of programmatic implementation by Terangi Foundation which is funded through the World Bank’s Coral Reef Rehabilitation and Management Program – Coral Triangle Initiative (COREMAP-CTI).
Workshop on Mobile App Operating, Manta Rays Population Census’ Database System, Application of Telemetric and Acoustic Satellite to Support Manta Rays Conservation in Raja Ampat
As a part of programmatic implementation funded by the World Bank’s COREMAP-CTI themed “Science-based Policy Integration to Support Conservation and Sustainable Utilization of Endangered Species,” Reef Check Indonesia Foundation organized a workshop starting on the 10th until the 14th of November, 2021.
The five-day workshop was held in Sorong, and presented related subjects on manta ray conservation in Raja Ampat ranging from Photo IDs, telemetric and acoustic satellite application, to the utilization of drone in manta rays’ observation.
This event was organized for both online and offline participants, and was attended by representatives from the Ministry of National Development Plan, Indonesia’s Climate Change Trust Fund (ICCTF), technical units from Ministry of Marine and Fisheries working for Raja Ampat, representatives from Raja Ampat Regency Government and West Papua Province Government, several NGOs, and academicians from University of Papua.
Manta Ray Monitoring in West Waigeo Islands Marine Reserve and Dampier Strait MPA
As part of the preparation for the upcoming manta ray management in Raja Ampat’s workshop – conducted in December 2021, several rangers from Dampier Strait MPA’s Gam Monitoring Post and Fam Islands MPA’s Meoskor Monitoring Post, and representatives from one of our NGO partners in Raja Ampat collaborated to monitor manta rays in several locations.
For your information, the joint-team was part of the Raja Ampat’s Manta Working Group – a voluntary-based collective consists of several representatives from the government, private sector, and NGOs that are working for conservation and sustainable utilization of manta rays in Raja Ampat.
The monitoring was held from the 12th until the 17th, and focused on the waters surrounding villages such as Mutus, Meos Manggara, Arborek, Yenbuba, Sauwandarek, Yensawai, Arefi, and villages in Fam Islands as well. Besides monitoring, the joint-team also checked manta ray monitoring posts already deployed in a couple of locations in Raja Ampat.
Training on Adaptive Fisheries and Management (AFAM)
RARE Indonesia conducted a hybrid training on AFAM, which was intended to strengthen the capacity of participants already trained a few months prior, by implementing materials for Traditional Fisheries Zone. Training, starting on the 16th and lasting for three days, consisted of classroom sessions in Waisai, and then implementation practice in the villages of Mumes, Yensawai, Jefman, and Yenanas on the following day, and discussion session during the last day.
The training was attended by representatives from Fisheries Agency of Raja Ampat and Raja Ampat Marine Park’s Authority. Participants were distributed to the four villages on the 17th for materials refreshment and implementation practice ranging from eight cycles of AFAM, to the usage of several fishing tools that supports adaptive fisheries management.
Evaluation of Jaga Laut Activities
On the 23rd of November, Raja Ampat Marine Park’s Authority conducted an evaluation on ranger patrols, which was attended by area coordinators and representatives from seven MPAs under the management unit, the head of Raja Ampat’s Working Group from the Ministry of Marine and Fisheries, and SEA People Foundation.
In general, this particular event reviewed the regular patrols conducted in 2020 and 2021. Topics included the number of patrols, violations, types of violation and the actions taken, to the progress of the Sea Tracker application’s use during the rangers patrol. The meeting then continued with discussion on several issues, solutions, and follow ups. It is hoped that this meeting can be held regularly, and helps increase the effectiveness of our ranger patrols.
Meeting with Members of the Community in Arborek Village
Raja Ampat Marine Park’s Authority organized a community meeting in Arborek Village, and was attended by no less than 40 participans. Some of the points discussed during this meeting were:
* The development in Raja Ampat, in terms of fisheries and marine tourism, requiring the support and involvement from members of the community – including the Manta Sandy’s Monitoring Post;
* Formally, the Marine Park’s Authority manages the MPAs, but the communities in Raja Ampat are, traditionally, the rightful owners of the area;
* The significant effect of the pandemic on the Marine Park’s Authority income has caused the reduction of staff;
* Manta rays are unique species and has become Raja Ampat’s icon, therefore require special treatment;
* Marine Park Authority will reactivate the operation of Manta Sandy’s Monitoring Post;
* Recruitment of Manta Cadre for the monitoring post will involve two major clans in Arborek Village;
* Marine Park Authority will prioritize the addition of two Manta Cadre from Arborek Village in 2022 only if the financial condition allows;
* In relation to the reactivation plan, there will be refurbishment of Manta Sandy’s Monitoring Post on the 29th and 30th of November, 2021.
Refurbishment of Manta Sandy’s Monitoring Post
Due to the pandemic, towards the end of 2020 the Raja Ampat Marine Park’s Authority were forced to stop the operation of Manta Sandy’s Monitoring Post. This cessation, unavoidably, caused damages here and there on the facility. With plan of reactivation of the said facility, on the 29th and 30th of November, several staff members are working on the first phase of the refurbishment.
This first phase of the monitoring post’s refurbishment consisted of erection of several base pillars for speedboats’ mooring. The next phases of refurbishment will be conducted early next year. Raja Ampat Marine Park’s Authority is also planning to reactivate this monitoring post next year with, of course, with major consideration on its financial condition.
So, that was the update from November, 2021. We hope that you enjoy it and find it useful, dear Readers. Looking back, like years past, of course there were ups and downs. It is with sincere gratefulness that we, at most times, are be able to maintain our patrolling intensity according to our Minimum Service Standard’s policy; at least eight patrols per month for each monitoring post stretching across seven Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
Being able to control all the utilization activities within the protected areas is key for managing the MPAs in Raja Ampat so that all the environmental service’s benefits go to the locals, and sustainably too.
Similar to 2020, keeping to the bylaws of the mandate, was a major challenge this year, especially while dealing with the decline in the number of tourism visitations, whose entry fees provide most of the necessary funding for managing MPAs in Raja Ampat and have not returned to normal, or pre Covid-19 that is. If you look at our patrol count’s table below, this is the main reason why there were dips in the last few months of this year.
However, we would like convey our most sincere gratitude for all our supporters out there – including each and every one of our readers – during these strange times, for you’ve helped us in keeping the aforementioned intensity ‘afloat’ through another, difficult year. It’s true that, this year, there were reasons of concern, but there certainly were a lot more to be grateful for.
And as usual, we would like to end this update by wishing you all the happiness and good health. We also wish that you had a wonderful Christmas this year, and have a great year ahead.
Thank you very much for your time, attention, and kind support. We hope to see you again on our December 2021’s update – next year.
* 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.
** Data and Information Staff for Raja Ampat’s Marine Park Authority