22 Tuesday June, 2010
Misool Eco Resort is petitioning the Raja Ampat Regency Government, Fisheries Department, and Tourism Department to halt the finning of sharks and hunting of Manta Rays in Raja Ampat. They have the full support of Conservation International's Indonesian Marine Program, WildAid, and Shark Savers.
Indonesia presents a paradox. It enjoys the most bio-diverse ocean environments on the planet. Unfortunately, Indonesia is also the world’s largest shark fishery, having all but emptied its waters of a valuable resource: its sharks. Raja Ampat, in Eastern Indonesia, is the crown jewel of the Coral Triangle that boasts the greatest concentration of coral and fish species on earth. In May 2007, the Raja Ampat government declared seven Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to protect these important ecosystems, together with the effort of The Nature Conservancy, Conservation International, and WWF Indonesia.
A new Marine Conservation Area has also been established in the Misool region of Raja Ampat by Misool Eco Resort (MER). Within just two years of establishment, shark numbers have increased dramatically and sharks are already returning this small sanctuary. Nevertheless, shark fishing and finning continues unabated in the vast majority of Raja Ampat’s waters that are beyond the protection of the No-Take Zones. It is now very rare to see a shark in Raja Ampat outside of a No-Take-Zone. Shark finners, having fished out the mature sharks in the area, are now moving against the last very young sharks they can find, even though their fins are small and only fetch about 35 cents each. Now, as even these catches have diminished, fishermen are shifting their sights to manta rays and mobula rays.
Shark Savers is supporting the effort with this petition. The Raja Ampat Fisheries and Tourism Departments needs to hear that there is great international interest in prohibiting shark fishing—especially among the eco-tourists and divers who are attracted to sharks.
Ampersand Travel are listed supporters of this petition and would encourage people to join by signing it themselves here: www.sharksavers.org/get-involved/sign-these-petitions/664-petition-to-protect-sharks-in-raja-ampat.html