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Category ArchiveRaja Ampat Islands

Welcome to Raja Ampat Islands – West Papua – Indonesia

The Raja Ampat, or “Four Kings,” archipelago encompasses more than 9.8 million acres of land and sea off the northwestern tip of Indonesia’s West Papua Province. Located in the Coral Triangle, the heart of the world’s coral reef biodiversity, the seas around Raja Ampat possibly hold the richest variety of species in the world.

The Raja Ampat, or “Four Kings,” archipelago encompasses more than 9.8 million acres of land and sea off the northwestern tip of Indonesia’s West Papua Province. Located in the Coral Triangle, the heart of the world’s coral reef biodiversity, the seas around Raja Ampat possibly hold the richest variety of species in the world.

The area’s massive coral colonies show that its reefs are resistant to threats like coral bleaching and disease —threats that now jeopardize the survival of corals around the world. In addition, Raja Ampat’s strong ocean currents sweep coral larvae across the Indian and Pacific Oceans to replenish other reef ecosystems. Raja Ampat’s coral diversity, resilience to threats, and ability to replenish reefs make it a global priority for marine protection.

Survey Confirms Highest Marine Biodiversity on Earth
In 2002, The Nature Conservancy and its partners conducted a scientific survey of the Raja Ampat Islands to collect information on its marine ecosystems, mangroves, and forests. The survey brought Raja Ampat’s total number of confirmed corals to 537 species— an incredible 75% of all known coral species. In addition, 899 fish species were recorded, raising the known total for Raja Ampat to an amazing 1,074. On land, the survey found lush forests, rare plants, limestone outcroppings, and nesting beachesfor thousands of sea turtles.

Though human impacts here are less severe than elsewhere in Indonesia, Raja Ampat’s natural resources are endangered by over fishing and destructive fishing, turtle poaching, and unsustainable logging. The Indonesian government recently established Raja Ampat as a separate administrative unit, which will give communities a greater say in managing the natural resources upon which their livelihoods depend. This structure also offers an important opportunity to include conservation in the spatial planning of the newly formed local government.

Ensuring Conservation through Partnerships
To address these issues, the Conservancy launched a new project to protect Raja Ampat, working in close partnership with the government and communities to: 1) contribute to a comprehensive conservation action plan to protect Raja Ampat’s reefs and forests; 2) help incorporate marine protected area management into long-term planning and policy; and, 3) establish a network of marine protected areas for Raja Ampat.

The Conservancy’s ultimate goal is to protect Raja Ampat’s magnificent reefs while sustaining the livelihoods of local people. Raja Ampat includes the four large islands of Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati, and Misool, plus hundreds of smaller islands. The archipelago is part of an area known as the Bird’s Head functional seascape, which also contains Cenderawasih Bay, the largest marine national park in Indonesia.

 

Fact About Raja Ampat Islands – West Papua – Indonesia

Raja Ampat Island
The Raja Ampat Island in Irian is group spreads out over a huge area and consists of over 610 islands. The four largest islands are Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Misool. The area’s reefs are covered in a diverse selection of both hard and soft corals. Most of the areas reefs are pristine, with mile after mile of perfect hard corals, drift after drift of soft corals of many species and colors ranging from brilliant red, to shocking yellow pretty pink and exotic purple. Most reef dives are very colorful. The tourist would be able to experience the best dives sites within those islands, which include Cape Kri, Mellisa’s Garden, Sardines Reef, The Passage, Nudibranch Rock, Wai Island Night Dive.

Raja Ampat is the western island of Papua Island. The name of Raja Ampat based on the legend. This area had begun with 6 eggs that found by King Waikew in Waigeo Island. But from the 6 eggs, just 5 eggs had crack. The last was become an egg stone till now on.

From the fifth eggs that had cracked, the 4 eggs was become men who become King of four big islands that is Waigeo, Batanta, Salawati and Misool. While the one egg became a woman, had wash away and stranded in Biak Island. That woman was born a child named Gura Besi that known as the historical man of Raja Ampat, because of his heroic story.

The regency that formed based on the constitution number 26 in 2002, is the development of Sorong regency on 12 April 2003. This area has 46.000 km2. But, 85% of this area is archipelago area. There are 610 islands in this area. But most of them have no social life. This regency has 10 districts and 85 villages with about 48.707 men.
Geographically, this area has strategic location. Its boundaries is:

North side: Pacific Ocean
West Side: North Maluku
South side: Maluku Sea
East Side: Sorong Regency

For the fauna sector, Raja Ampat has rarely fauna, such as; red birds of paradise (Paradise Rubra), Wilson birds of paradise (Cicinnurs Republica), Maleo Waigeo (Spilocuscus Papuensis), and rainbow fishes. Hence, for the flora, Raja Ampat has many kinds of Orchids, Waigeo palm, ironwoods or black woods, ‘keruing’, ‘ulin’ woods, etc.

Because of its various nature profit, Raja Ampat will declared by Maritime Ministry Freddy Numberi as ancient regency, based on its location that not only rich of fishes, but also its sea herb and the pearl.

Raja Ampat casts a spell on all who visit – scientists, photographers, novice divers and crusty sea-salts alike. This group of majestic islands, located in the northwestern tip of Indonesia’s Papuan “Bird’s Head Seascape,” lies in the heart of the coral triangle, the most bio-diverse marine region on earth.

As stunningly beautiful above water as it is below, Raja Ampat (which literally translates as “The Four Kings”) has a startling diversity of habitats to explore. Each of these – from the stark wave-pounded slopes that drop away beneath the karst cliffs of Wayag and Uranie to the deep, nutrient-rich bays of Mayalibit, Kabui and Aljui to the “blue water mangrove” channels of Kofiau and Gam to the plankton-rich upwelling areas of Misool and the Dampier Strait – are home to unique assemblages of species that, when taken together, add to produce the most impressive species lists ever compiled for a coral reef system of this size.’

Marine tourism, as a sustainable alternative to overfishing, mining, and logging, has the potential to play a key role in the conservation of Raja Ampat’s spectacular underwater realm, while also creating real benefits for the local communities. This website was designed as part of a larger effort to support the growth of sustainable marine tourism in Raja Ampat and the conservation of these magical islands.

Please explore this site to find information on breathtaking diving opportunities, travel logistics, Raja Ampat’s new tourism entrance fee (which directly supports conservation and community development), and the tremendous conservation effort taking place in Raja Ampat.

“Raja Ampat is a virtual species factory”
M. Erdmann, 2007

Raja Ampat casts a spell on all who visit – scientists, photographers, novice divers and crusty sea-salts alike. This group of majestic islands, located in the northwestern tip of Indonesia’s Papuan “Bird’s Head Seascape,” lies in the heart of the coral triangle, the most bio-diverse marine region on earth.

As stunningly beautiful above water as it is below, Raja Ampat (which literally translates as “The Four Kings”) has a startling diversity of habitats to explore. Each of these – from the stark wave-pounded slopes that drop away beneath the karst cliffs of Wayag and Uranie to the deep, nutrient-rich bays of Mayalibit, Kabui and Aljui to the “blue water mangrove” channels of Kofiau and Gam to the plankton-rich upwelling areas of Misool and the Dampier Strait – are home to unique assemblages of species that, when taken together, add to produce the most impressive species lists ever compiled for a coral reef system of this size.

Marine tourism, as a sustainable alternative to overfishing, mining, and logging, has the potential to play a key role in the conservation of Raja Ampat’s spectacular underwater realm, while also creating real benefits for the local communities. This website was designed as part of a larger effort to support the growth of sustainable marine tourism in Raja Ampat and the conservation of these magical islands.

Please explore this site to find information on breathtaking diving opportunities, travel logistics, Raja Ampat’s new tourism entrance fee (which directly supports conservation and community development), and the tremendous conservation effort taking place in Raja Ampat.

Biodiversity Features in Raja Ampat
and the greater Bird’s Head Seascape
1,511 species of reef fish in the Bird’s Head Seascape
1,320 species of reef fish in Raja Ampat
27 species of endemic reef fish found only in the Birds Head Seascape
600 species of hard coral recorded in the Bird’s Head Seascape
75% of all known coral species in the world
10 times the number of hard coral species found in the entire Caribbean
57 species of Mantis Shrimp in the Birds Head Seascape
13 species of Marine Mammals in the Bird’s Head Seascape
5 species of endangered sea turtles in the Bird’s Head Seascape

 

Diving Tags Information in Raja Ampat National Park – West Papua

Conserving Raja Ampat
The Raja Ampat Archipelago is known as the “crown jewel” in the Papuan “Bird’s Head Seascape” (named for the distinctive shape of the northwestern section of the island of New Guinea), an area with unparalleled marine biodiversity.

As of September 2008, current species tallies for the Bird’s Head include over 1356 species of coral reef fish (including 1223 in Raja Ampat alone and at least 25 endemics known only from this region), 600 species of hard coral (75% of the world’s total and over ten times the number of coral species found in the entire Caribbean), and 57 species of mantis shrimp (including 8 endemic species known only from the Bird’s Head). Other important features of the Bird’s Head include karst forests full of rare orchids, birds of paradise, tree kangaroos, regionally-important green and hawksbill turtle rookeries, whale and dolphin aggregations, and the world’s largest Pacific Leatherback Turtle nesting beaches in the Jamursbamedi-Warmon coast of the Northern Bird’s Head.

As more is discovered about Raja Ampat, its global significance continues to grow. There is now clear evidence that the coral around Raja Ampat may be naturally more resilient to fluctuations in temperatures, and thus more likely to withstand the impacts of global climate change. Powerful ocean currents carry larvae from Raja Ampat to reefs in other parts of Indonesia and the Pacific, making Raja Ampat the heart of the “supply chain” of species. This transport may help to replenish other reefs which have been damaged by disease, bleaching, overfishing, and other detrimental activities.

Without question, Raja Ampat and the broader Bird’s Head Seascape rank as global priorities for marine conservation!

Until fairly recently, Raja Ampat’s isolation and low human population have played a large part in keeping its reefs healthy and thriving. However, the region’s rich coastal and marine resources have made it a target for economic development ranging from fisheries and marine tourism, to more destructive activities such as oil and gas exploration, mining and logging. And thus the paradox of Raja Ampat – world unique, globally outstanding, literally bursting at the seams with biodiversity – yet highly threatened.

Local governments and stakeholders require strong support in developing effective, sustainable coastal and marine resource management that conserves biodiversity while benefiting local communities. To date, that support is coming from a highly dedicated team of over 200 international and local conservation NGO staff focused on improving the management of Raja Ampat. Working in concert with the local and national government and other local institutions and stakeholders, two international conservation NGOs, Conservation International (CI) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) as well as the Indonesian government’s Coral Reef Rehabilitation and Management Program (COREMAP) are facilitating the management of the 7 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) recently declared in Raja Ampat. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and local NGO, Papuan Sea Turtle Foundation, play a key role in sea turtle conservation in the archipelago. In addition, the three international NGOs—CI, TNC and WWF—have an ambitious partnership throughout the Bird’s Head Seascape.

Together, these organizations have focused on a comprehensive three-pronged approach to conservation in Raja Ampat.

The first initiative has centered on the scientific characterization of Raja Ampat, including its biodiversity and the important large-scale ecological and oceanographic processes that influence this diversity. Besides generating world record species lists and describing dozens of new and endemic species, this initiative has also succeeded in revealing patterns of genetic and oceanographic “connectivity” that are critical to understand in order to develop plans to manage the region’s marine resources in a sustainable manner.

The second set of strategic conservation activities, conducted simultaneously with the scientific characterization of Raja Ampat, has focused on creating an “enabling environment” for effective conservation and collaborative management of Raja Ampat’s rich marine resources. Over the past 3 years, the various conservation teams have worked intensively with the local government and citizens in the 90 remote villages of Raja Ampat to both better understand their development aspirations and align them with a sustainable vision for the area while also dramatically increasing local understanding and appreciation of Raja Ampat’s biodiversity, the threats to it, and the need for local leadership in effectively managing it. So far, the response of local traditional leaders and village chiefs has been overwhelmingly positive. To learn more about some of these outreach and education programs click here.

The final strategic initiative (based upon the scientific understanding and strong local community support generated by the first two strategies) has been to facilitate the establishment of an ecologically-connected network of marine protected areas (MPAs) across Raja Ampat. In May 2007, the Raja Ampat government declared a network of seven MPAs that together covers nearly 900,000 hectares and approximately 45% of Raja Ampat’s coral reefs and mangroves. Effectively implemented, these MPAs should ensure the long term health and sustainability of Raja Ampat’s marine ecosystems. One outstanding achievement has been the work of the local NGO, Papua Sea Turtle Foundation, which has run a highly successful turtle nest program in the major rookery of Sayang-Piai in the Kawe MPA, effectively eliminating turtle poaching and protecting over 2000 green turtle nests in the past 2 years.
View a map of Raja Ampat’s MPA Network

These three initiatives have made impressive progress over the past 5 years, but there is still much work to be done. Raja Ampat’s MPA network needs to be “operationalized” and the restrictions on destructive and unsustainable fishing practices strictly enforced. Marine tourism development must be carefully managed to provide optimal benefits for local communities while minimizing its “footprint” in the area. Perhaps most importantly, we face a continuous uphill battle to impress upon policy-makers and community leaders the need to wisely conserve and manage this area, as the seemingly inexhaustible global demand for commodities ranging from fish to minerals to timber products continues to create strong short-term financial incentives to mine all of these resources from Raja Ampat.

Hopefully, with the continued dedication of conservation NGOs, the local and national government, and local stakeholders, and the firm support of the marine tourism sector, the reefs of Raja Ampat will continue to thrive.

 

Information On The Tags System For Tour Operator, Lodges & Liveaboards

Background information on the tag system for tour operators
The following information is provided in order to acquaint dive operators with the detailed justification and workings of the Raja Ampat Tourism Entrance Fee System. We have tried to design this system in a manner which is as flexible and convenient to dive operators working in Raja Ampat as possible; however, the very different operating environments of liveaboards and locally-based resorts means there are some complexities here which require some explanation as well as patience and consideration on behalf of everyone involved.

Why was the user fee created?
As most operators are aware, ownership and authority over reefs in Raja Ampat (and Papua in general) is more complex than in other parts of Indonesia. In Raja Ampat individual families or villages actually exert traditional marine tenurial rights over the reefs (ie, reefs are not an open-access resource as in most of Indonesia). At the same time, the Raja Ampat Regency government also has management authority over the reefs. Both of these important stakeholders have a variety of legal and moral rights to seek payment from users of the reefs – be those fisheries or tourism interests. Unfortunately, these overlapping authorities have resulted in a fair bit of angst and multiple demands for payments from dive operators – something which many of you most certainly have experienced in Raja Ampat.

Given this situation, Conservation International (CI), the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL), and their conservation partners were requested by both villagers and the Raja Ampat government to facilitate the development of an entrance fee system which can accommodate the rights of the government and villagers to seek compensation for tourism use of the reefs while also not unnecessarily inconveniencing dive operators or diving guests to the region. Our interest in facilitating this system is straightforward; our institutions are focused on conservation and sustainable use of the globally-significant marine biodiversity in Raja Ampat, and we firmly believe that marine tourism is one of the economic development sectors most compatible with this mission. Hence, we are keen to facilitate sustainable tourism development in Raja Ampat and encourage both villagers and the government to prioritize this sector.

We have spent a considerable amount of energy, time and money to engage villagers and the Raja Ampat government in forging an agreement for a single fee system which is collected centrally with the benefits distributed to all of the villages in Raja Ampat – rather than having a potentially overwhelming number of separate fees for each reef in Raja Ampat. The result is that the single overall fee is significant (Rp 500,000), but we believe this is a small price to pay to encourage the stewardship and protection of the most biodiverse reefs on earth. We ask your support and patience in getting this fee system up and running and providing benefits to all of the involved stakeholders.

How does the tag system work?
After considering a variety of options, we have settled on the annual waterproof plastic entrance tag system (first developed in Bonaire and now widely used from Bunaken to Fiji to the Caribbean) as the most robust and convenient marine entrance fee system. The system is simple: guests purchase an individually-numbered annual waterproof tag which is affixed to their gear as proof of payment. The design and color of the tag changes on a yearly basis, and tags are valid for the calendar year in which they are purchased (eg, a 2008 tag will be valid from 1 January 2008 through 31 January 2009).

Tags are individually numbered and this information recorded directly on receipts and in a centralized database in order to prevent re-use of tags between guests. That is to say, tag #00001 is registered to Mr. John Smith from the UK, and cannot be transferred to other guests. This annual tag system is widely considered to be the most convenient marine entrance fee system yet developed and avoids a number of the hassles associated with systems that use daily fees. Tags can be purchased “on the spot” or pre-purchased in bulk by dive operators and re-sold to guests; the main “hassle” associated with this system is the requirement for operators to provide data back to the entrance fee management team on how the individually-numbered tags are assigned to specific guests (explained in detail below).

Why are there two receipts?
The purchase of a tag will result in two separate receipts which reflects the bipartite nature of the entrance fee: one receipt of Rp 150,000 for the tourism management fee (known locally as the “retribusi” to the Raja Ampat tourism department) and one receipt of Rp 350,000 for the conservation and community development fee (known locally as the “non-retribusi” fee which is used directly for programs in the 88 villages of Raja Ampat). Each receipt is in triplicate – one (white) for the visitor, one (pink) for the management team to enter visitor data into its database, and one (yellow) for the dive operator (provides an extra measure of “control” for dive operators to be able to compare back to the management team’s database in case of any suspicion of corruption). For more information purchase of tags and use of receipts click here.

Thank you for visiting Raja Ampat!

Tim Pengelola, JE Meridien Hotel Sorong
Tel +62 951 328358 | Fax +62 951 326576

 

How To Get To Raja Ampat – West Papua – Indonesia

The Raja Ampat area of Northwest Papua (the second largest island in the world) is filled with islands, surrounded by reefs and inundated with fish!

Most of the areas reefs are pristine, with mile after mile of perfect hard corals, drift after drift of Dendronephya (soft) corals of many species and colors ranging from brilliant red, to shocking yellow pretty pink and exotic purple. Most reef dives are very colorful.

It is easiest to fly through to Sorong via Jakarta or via Singapore. Merpati, Express Air and Lion Wings operate daily flights from Jakarta to Sorong (with stopovers in Ujung Pandang/Makassar and/or Manado), whereas Silk Air operates regularly from Singapore to Manado. Regular flights to and from Sorong by Airlines Merpati and Lion Wings. Check directly with Papua Diving for current schedule or click on flightschedule for latest flight information.

Airlines
Merpati Airlines
Lion Air
Express Air
Batavia Air
Silk Air

We can help you to book and issue the tickets, just contact us!

Surat jalan (=travel permit)
To enter Papua itself, you need a surat jalan which is issued by the local police. Please bring:

* 3 Passport Photos
* 3 Copies of the photo page of your passport
* 3 Copies of the passport page with the Indonesian Visa

With these photos and copies we will arrange the surat jalan for you at your arrival. This procedure will not take any of your time and is done as a part of our service.

Airport taxes apply, the departure tax at Jakarta is Rp. 100.000 (=at 30-01-2004 +/-US$ 12) for international departures and for domestic flights taxes apply also. From Sorong, the airport tax is Rp. 11.000 (US$ 1.2). All these taxes need to be paid in cash Rupiah, so make sure you have some.

New VISA Requirements
Starting on 1 February 2004, Indonesia brought in new regulations regarding which nationalities have to apply for visas before coming here, and who can get visas upon arrival – for 11 nationalities these are issued at no charge, for 21 other nationalities you pay for the visa on arrival this is based on immigration requirements for Indonesians entering those countries

The following 11 countries/territories receive a 30day no-charge visa upon arrival: Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, Hong Kong, Macau, Chile, Peru and Morocco.

Citizens of the following 21 countries are now required to pay for a visa upon arrival – USD10 for a 3day visa, or USD25 for a 30day visa: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, the USA, the UAE and the UK.

As before, your passport must be valid for at least 6mths after your stay in Indonesia. You still have to show an onward ticket out of the country.
Methods of payment: USD cash (as with all the USDs you bring to Indonesia, these need to be in pristine condition and produced in 2001 or later), Mastercard and Visa.

Nationalities not on either of the above lists or people who want to stay in Indonesia for longer than 30days, must get a visa from an overseas Indonesian Embassy or Consulate before arriving here. These cannot be issued upon arrival.

We advise you check with your local Indonesian embassy about the applicable procedures and going rates well in advance of your departure date, because the application procedure takes 5 working days. Please note that the above are non-extendable. There are a limited number of ?gateways?, these being airports and ports where you may enter from overseas.

Please note that the above is only our understanding of the situation as it stands at present. If you are in any doubt whatsoever, please contact your nearest Indonesian Embassy or Consulate.