Thanks to CORAL’s Donors, Our Work in Raja Ampat Continues!
In the summer 2007 CORAL CURRENT, we wrote about the critical situation in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, and CORAL’s urgent efforts to restructure the way in which tourism fees were
collected and used to benefit the local marine protected areas (MPAs). We needed donations to continue our crucial work in these mostly pristine reefs. You responded and, thanks to you, we were able to continue our work without interruption throughout 2007.
CORAL’s Field Representatives held training sessions with dive operators and tourism board members, in addition to reaching out to local communities to facilitate creation of a new vision by all stakeholders. Coral reef communities know the best way to protect their own coral reefs, and even the best conservation efforts cannot succeed without all stakeholders being engaged and invested in the solutions created to address local conservation challenges.
We are proud to announce that effective August 12, 2007, the Raja Ampat Regency Government officially changed the tourism fee amount collected from visitors to the MPAs, as well as how the fees will directly benefit the resources and the people of Raja Ampat.
The new fee will be approximately US$55, for an annual pass. Visitors will receive a waterproof plastic entrance tag which they will be required to carry at all times and can be easily fixed to snorkeling or diving gear bags. The user fee system has been adapted from the very successful Bonaire and Bunaken Marine Park systems. The 2008 tag, shown here, features the Pygmy Seahorse (hippocampus bargibanti) one of over 1200 fish species in Raja Ampat. The CORAL logo is on the flip side of the tag.
Tags will be available for purchase at the Sorong, Indonesia, airport, the main point of entry for Raja Ampat. The revenues from the entrance fee are managed by the multi-stakeholder “Raja Ampat Tourism Entrance Fee Management Team, ”which includes representatives from the fisheries department, tourism department, conservation organizations, tourism stakeholders, and community representatives.
We could not have continued this vital program without you. Together we are saving coral reefs.
Coral reef communities know the best way to protect their own coral reefs, and even the best conservation efforts cannot succeed without all stakeholders being engaged and invested in the solutions created to address local conservation challenges.