The Conservation Miracle of Raja Ampat: The Last Paradise on Earth

The Conservation Miracle of Raja Ampat: The Last Paradise on Earth

Over three decades ago, Max Ammer, a Dutch history enthusiast, received a tip from his then-landlord, a war veteran, regarding sunken WWII aircraft in Indonesia's waters. This tip sparked a four-month diving expedition across various archipelagos, with Ammer consulting local fishermen along the way. Among the places explored, Raja Ampat in Indonesia's West Papua Province stood out for its remarkable marine biodiversity and remote, unspoiled nature.

Raja Ampat, nparalleled marine life, including over 1,600 fish species and 75% of the world's known coral species | Papua Explorers

Raja Ampat, situated in the Coral Triangle, covers over 4 million hectares and encompasses approximately 1,500 islands. Renowned for its unparalleled marine life, including over 1,600 fish species and 75% of the world's known coral species, Raja Ampat earned its reputation as "the last paradise on Earth."

Ammer's deep appreciation for the region inspired him to establish the Kri Eco Dive Resort in 1994, aimed at training local divers and introducing visitors to the pristine underwater world. This initiative, along with others, contributed to the conservation success story of Raja Ampat.

Max Ammer, Raja Ampat | Photo by Rhett Butler, Mongabay
Max Ammer, being interviewed by a journalist from Mongabay | photo by Rhett Butler, Mongabay

Around two decades ago, Raja Ampat faced challenges like unregulated fishing and unsustainable practices, leading to its decline. However, concerted efforts, including the establishment of marine protected areas and community engagement, reversed the trend. The inclusion of Raja Ampat in the Bird's Head Seascape initiative in 2004 marked a turning point, resulting in significant improvements in fish populations, coral recovery, and livelihood security for local communities.

Similarly, Marit Miners, co-founder of Misool Eco Resort and Misool Foundation, emphasized the importance of engaging local communities in conservation efforts. Their initiatives, such as establishing no-take zones and implementing sustainable practices at the resort, have led to remarkable recoveries in marine life.

Despite these achievements, maintaining the conservation momentum requires ongoing dedication from various stakeholders, including local communities, governments, businesses, and non-profit organizations. Miners highlighted the evolving nature of threats to marine ecosystems, emphasizing the need for sustained collaborative efforts.

Ammer and Miners both emphasized the beauty of Raja Ampat's marine and terrestrial landscapes, urging visitors to engage with local communities and immerse themselves in the region's culture.

Ultimately, Raja Ampat's allure lies not only in its breathtaking natural wonders but also in the warmth and hospitality of its people, making it a destination cherished by visitors and locals alike.

Akhyari Hananto

I began my career in the banking industry in 1997, and stayed approx 6 years in it. This industry boost his knowledge about the economic condition in Indonesia, both macro and micro, and how to More understand it. My banking career continued in Yogyakarta when I joined in a program funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB),as the coordinator for a program aimed to help improve the quality of learning and teaching process in private universities in Yogyakarta. When the earthquake stroke Yogyakarta, I chose to join an international NGO working in the area of ?disaster response and management, which allows me to help rebuild the city, as well as other disaster-stricken area in Indonesia. I went on to become the coordinator for emergency response in the Asia Pacific region. Then I was assigned for 1 year in Cambodia, as a country coordinator mostly to deliver developmental programs (water and sanitation, education, livelihood). In 2009, he continued his career as a protocol and HR officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya, and two years later I joined the Political and Economic Section until now, where i have to deal with extensive range of people and government officials, as well as private and government institution troughout eastern Indonesia. I am the founder and Editor-in-Chief in Good News From Indonesia (GNFI), a growing and influential social media movement, and was selected as one of The Most Influential Netizen 2011 by The Marketeers magazine. I also wrote a book on "Fundamentals of Disaster Management in 2007"?, "Good News From Indonesia : Beragam Prestasi Anak Bangsa di dunia"? which was luanched in August 2013, and "Indonesia Bersyukur"? which is launched in Sept 2013. In 2014, 3 books were released in which i was one of the writer; "Indonesia Pelangi Dunia"?, "Indonesia The Untold Stories"? and "Growing! Meretas Jalan Kejayaan" I give lectures to students in lectures nationwide, sharing on full range of issues, from economy, to diplomacy Less
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