The Short Story
CORAL’s initial work in Raja Ampat involved the launch of an interconnected network of marine protected areas (MPAs) across 5 million hectares of species-rich coral reefs and island systems. A user fee system developed by CORAL and Conservation International is generating revenue for marine area management.
To support sustainable tourism, CORAL created a Raja Ampat “yellow pages” designed to bring up-to-date information to marine recreation providers about the user fee, ports-of-call, lines of communication, and more. CORAL has trained more than 100 individuals in Sustainable Marine Recreation and reached more than 80 percent of the marine recreation providers in the region with information, training, and resources.
CORAL began working with the Misool Eco Resort (MER) in 2007 to improve the management of the marine protected area that the MER established around its private island in Raja Ampat. CORAL is now also working to establish a network of marine protected areas off the coast of Bali.
More Progress in Indonesia
CORAL and its partners have been working to increase Raja Ampat’s economic opportunities while at the same time saving its reefs. The user fee system consists of a fee visitors pay to enter a marine protected area. Raja Ampat community members had attempted to introduce a user fee system in the past; however, some community members did not receive their share of the revenue, and consensus among dive operators and other involved parties was difficult to achieve. In addition, the creators of the previous user fee system didn’t follow legal protocols for putting the fee requirements into Indonesian law.
CORAL restructured the system and gained consensus from all stakeholders. We also held trainings for the tourism board and dive operators and reached out to local community members to create a fresh vision for the user fee. The new system was structured to include a Bupati (governor)-appointed committee comprising all stakeholders, including representatives from the local community, the tourism bureau, the Bupati office, fisheries, dive operators, traditional religious leaders, and local nonprofit organizations.
In response to an urgent need for funding to finish this important work, CORAL reached out to its membership with a targeted appeal. We are deeply grateful for the generous support of our members, who played an important and direct role in protecting these pristine reefs.
Examples of Progress
- 80 percent of Raja Ampat’s tourism operators trained in sustainable business practices.
- Newsletter produced and distributed to tourism businesses and local communities highlighting the benefits and importance of well-managed marine protected areas.
- User fee system developed and implemented.
- Traveling lending library initiated as part of marine protected area patrol guidelines in Misool, increasing community acceptance and support of conservation.