Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Challenges in Local Communities over the development of marine tourism industry

by Charles Roring
Today, marine tourism has given a significant financial contribution to many island nations around the world. Countries whose coral reefs are still in pristine condition attempt to develop their marine tourism industry. Worldwide, it is estimated that coral reefs provide the world with US $ 375 billion in goods and services. For instance, tourism in the Caribbean generated approximately US $ 34 billion in 2002. Such enourmous amount of revenues attracts more investors to develop resorts.
The number of certified recreational divers has reached more than 15 million people. Many of them regularly seek new diving sites around the world. Scuba diving industry is seen as a business opportunity most island nations to develop their remote coastal villages. This trend will dramatically change the social, cultural and economic life of the islanders.
Diving center cannot run by itself. It needs modern airstrips, hotels, roads, and boat builders. The introduction of marine tourism industry will give more pressures both to the local communities and coral reefs environment.
Local communities who have relied on coral reefs for years as their food resources will have to face foreigners in their traditional subsistance fishing-ground. How they interact with tourist divers depends on how the stakeholders of marine tourism industry include the local communities in that business. They will only receive the divers if they receive financial benefits from them.
Therefore, stakeholders diving and other marine tourism industry such as resort and boat owners must recruit local islanders in their business. Local people working in diving center will gradually change their lifestyle. They will not abandon their traditional livelihood as fisherman. They have to learn new languages, new culture and values from the tourists.
A rapidly developing recreation marine park will attract job seekers from other islands or countries. Resort owners need managers, dive instructors, and cook and engineers.  The locals do not have such skills. There will be competition between local and foreign job seekers who are better and more experienced for those positions.
The development of diving resorts will also affect local communities and the visiting tourists as the costs of living and housing tend to increase.
The existance of recreation divers in the coral reefs will limit the access of local fishers on their traditional fishing ground. Potential conflicts between marine recreation providers and local fishers have to be anticipated by the government.
This conflicts have to be minimized. Government and resort owners must support the islanders in continuing livelihood through a sustainable fishing practices. The tax that the Local Government receive from marine recreation businesses have to be invested back into the local communities. Facilities such as health center, schools, roads need improvement.
Some resort owners even launch a number of CSR programs for the villagers living near their resorts. The staff teach English lessons in community schools, provide scholarships and even participate in regular beach clean-ups. Other income generating schemes such as aquaculture and handicraft making can be introduced to the islanders support the villagers in improving their standard of living.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Community Based Marine Conservation

by Charles Roring
The cheapest way to protect our sea environment is by asking the participation of local coastal communities. They are the ones who live near the waters where the reefs need protection and restoration.
Marine conservation and coral reefs protection have increasingly become hot issues in seminar and conferences. Governments, NGOs and businesses show their concern over the rapid destruction of our sea environment. Programs such as coastal zone management, reefs rehabilitation and sustainable fishing are not new terms anymore. Newspapers, televisions and radios have launched the discussions of such topics since the past few years.
Marine conservation programs will only succeed if they are supported by local communities. Governments, NGOs and businesses need the participation and support of coastal communities. Traditionally, they have practiced their own local wisdoms in protecting coral reefs since ancient times. They are the key stakeholder group who mostly rely on coral reefs resources for their livelihood.
Local communities can be involved in coral reef conservation projects. Fishermen can use their boats to patrol around certain protected area. Coastal villagers can do regular beach clean-ups. Government can also hire them as officers who will be responsible for the management of marine protected areas. To reduce unemployment among the coastal villagers, hotel and resort owners should train and hire local people.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cheap diving doesn't have to be environmentally destructive

by Charles Roring
In my previous article I wrote about how people can dive across the coral reefs of Indonesia in cheaper way. This morning, I read a comment in my previous posting which criticizes me of my opinion on recommending local fishermen as tour guide for divers. Actually, I don't try to drive or attract the recreational divers away from diving centers. Permanent diving sites such as Bali and Bunaken have diving resorts that offer packages at reasonable price. I even suggested the divers, if they are budget travellers, to go in groups to Bunaken or Bali in low season. By doing so, they will get more discounts. Diving has always been related to diving centers and diving resorts. New recreational divers are now seen as potential customers who can generate millions of dollars of income to diving operators and other related businesses around famous coral reefs such as Bunaken.
But there are still a lot of coral reef sites in Indonesia that have not been explored by divers. Only fishermen and local islanders know their locations. Many of these sites are in remote islands far from diving resorts, and luxurious hotels. Experienced divers can enjoy diving there by travelling from one island to another. The cheapest way to travel is by sailing with PELNI's passenger ships and or renting fishermen's boats.
Experience divers will definitely want to explore new diving sites outside the conventional ones printed on tourist maps. They won't visit the same sites every year. They will try new diving sites which are mostly located in remote islands although they might be less comfortable.  They will only be able to stay in villagers' houses.  There, when divers, also if possible NGOs, and fishermen meet in the same reefs, they can share ideas on how best to protect the marine environment.
Traditional fishing communities have local wisdoms which have helped them protect their marine environment. In Moluccan islands, there is sasi tradition - a temporarily no take zone applied to certain fishing grounds and coral reefs. In West Papua, there are local beliefs, among certain tribes in Geelvink bay, which prohibit villagers to eat certain sea animals such as turtles, dugongs and groupers.  These animals are seen as their ancestors. Such beliefs have helped them maintain the balance of marine ecosystem which is their most important source of food.
Financial contributions which divers directly give to these villagers will improve their economy. At the same time, they can give suggestions on how to provide mooring equipment around coral reefs instead of throwing anchors to the bottom of the sea. Most traditional fishermen use canoe that does not need heavy anchoring for fishing among the coral reefs which is much less dangerous if compared to diving yachts in Egypt.
So, the exchange of ideas between traditional fishing communities and recreational divers on such matters as marine protection and coral reefs preservation is important in developing sustainable eco-tourism business side by side with sustainable fishing.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Cheapest Way to Enjoy Diving across the Coral Reefs of Indonesia

by Charles Roring

Diving in Indonesia can be cheap if we know the ways. Indonesia has more coral reefs than any other countries in the world. Many of them haven't been explored. Famous diving sites such as Bunaken, and Bali are visited by tens of thousands of visitors every year. If you are interested in diving in those places, you can go there during the low season. At that time diving centers or diving resorts give discounts. You can ask for more discounts if you come with your friends. If you can bring up to ten divers, you will be able to get free service.

Experienced divers like to explore new diving sites. Indonesian islands have plenty of such places. There are more than 13,600 islands. There are a lot of coastal towns in Indonesia. Most of unexplored diving sites are located in Moluccan and Papuan islands. Budget travelers like to travel across these islands by PELNI’s passenger ships. It is the largest state owned shipping company in Indonesia. You can choose economy class, tourist class, up to first class. The rate is very cheap according to Western standard.
When you and your friends have arrived in an island, you can stay in a lodge that is run by a family. It is considered cheaper than hotels which are run by corporations. Unfortunately, most of the lodges and small hotels do not have diving centers. You have to bring your own diving equipment, (including air bottles, wetsuits, portable compressors, lights and etc.)
The cheapest way to locate diving sites in certain islands is by asking fishermen. They know the unexplored coral reefs around their islands. You can even rent their boat and use the boatmen as your guide. Ask hotel or lodge owners if they know a guide who speaks English to help you communicate with the locals.
In remote villages, electricity is not always available. If there is electricity, it might be available for one or two hours. So, it is better to bring more rechargeable batteries or portable generator. Fuel price is subsidized in Indonesia.
You can spend many weeks diving across Indonesian coral reefs if you sail with your own boat or yacht. Many coral reefs in remote islands are still in pristine condition.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Diving through shipwreck

by Charles Roring
Diving into a shipwreck can be a fascinating experience. A corroding ship's structure is fragile. It can collapse anytime. So it is dangerous to dive alone. If the wreck is old enough, we can see how the wreck is full of corals and fish. Many shipwrecks in deep water are left untouched. They might contain of various kinds cargoes such as cars, tyres, ammunition, and even crude oil.
As diving through shipwreck is a dangerous activity, it is better to dive with friends. Divers need enough lights to enter the interior of the wreck.
Sometimes, divers encounter fish moving inside the wreck. If the fish is a venomous one, it is better not to approach it because it can attack divers. Do not force to enter rooms, such as machinery room, or navigation that are blocked by pillars, sling, or fallen furniture.
Some shipwrecks have explosive materials such as bombs and torpedoes. Don't try to turn or remove them. They can explode and ruin the whole ship's structure.
After diving, you can contact the shipping archives of the local government if the ship was of the territory. If the shipwreck was from other country. You can contact the country, or the ship owner to find out detailed stories about the wreck.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Symbiosis Mutualism of Yellow Tail Anemone Fish and Sea Anemone

Charles Roring

When you dive among the coral reef, you might sea a picture which is similar to the one below:
Sea anemone looks like soft coral. It is similar to a plant but this soft coral actually is an animal. It looks beautiful underwater. Clown fish like to play among it without having to fear of the sting of the sea anemone. The anemone looks fragile but its shoots are dangerous and venomous.
Yellow tail anemone fish live among sea anemone. Even though its habitat is venomous anemone, the yellow tail anemone fish can live safely. It doesn’t like if there are any fish moving around its home. It sometimes attacks other fish that pass by her home. Attacking other fish is its effort to show that it is the one that occupy and protect its territory.
But if other fish is bigger and more dangerous, yellow tail anemone fish will only watch it. For instance, a big venomous lion fish which is bigger. It can make the anemone fish its prey. When the lion fish is moving closer to its territory, the yellow tail anemone fish is afraid to attack him.
Sea anemone and yellow tail anemone fish help each other. For instance, when some rainbow multi-colored fin fish struggle with one another over a clam meat, suddenly the anemone fish will steal it away and hide it in the sea anemone. The rainbow fish will chase and try to seize the clam meat from the anemone but the venomous shoots will prevent them to do so. The sea anemone will hold the meat. Through this symbiosis mutualism, the two species of fish can survive from any attacks from larger fish.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Japanese Stockade in West Papua

During World War II, Japanese troops built their bases in Manokwari
Japanese World War II Stockade in Manokwari
by Charles Roring, from Manokwari, West Papua.
Yesterday, I walked around my neighborhood. There were two elementary schools, one kindergarten, one junior high and one Church. When I passed by the Padma II elementary school, I saw an interesting concrete structure located in the middle of the school yard. It was a small stockade made of concrete material. I guess it was built by WW II prisoners of war, who were mainly Dutch, under the instruction of Japanese forces.
The chaos of World War II had long been over. Now, the quiet neighborhood was usually noisy in the mornings full of children playing around during school hours. I brought a digital camera at the time. I shot the stockade. I didn't see any children playing inside it. Perhaps, they are afraid of ghosts lingering in that concrete structure. Or maybe they get bored with that old fortification. I saw that the stockade was being dumped with garbage. I realize that people do not really know the history of this town. If the local government really know about the history of this stockades, they will maintain them as World War II monuments. Tourists can come to these monuments and recount the fierce battle of the Pacific.
There are many such stockades in West Papua. The Japanese used them during the war to defend themselves against US bombardments. Now, years after the bloody war, these fortifications are abandoned. Many are dumped with garbages. Migrants who came later to this town might not know that tens of years ago, this little town was the battle field of two major powers of the Pacific. Unexploded bombs had been cleared up from the town by the Ducth in 1950s. There are some unexploded bombs in the jungles. I cannot mention the exact number but there are. Many lie at the bottom of the sea slowly corroding. I am concerned that some fishermen have picked them up and used them as explosive material for blast fishing.
Blast fishing is a dangerous practice for the sustainability of coral reef and marine life. One blast can damage the soft and hard corals, polyps, fish and tiny marine creatures. We need to remind the fishermen to stop using this fishing method as soon as possible.
Besides the unexploded bombs, wrecks on the bottom of the sea contain fuel oil that is trapped in corroding tanks. If the tanks leak, oil will flow out and polute the reefs, fish and the beach. There are hundreds of shipwrecks in the Pacific region. We need to observe them closely. They are very fragile structure that can cause environmental pollution anytime in the future.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Sea and Coral Reef the source of art inspiration, the case of Dore people

by Charles Roring from Dore bay, Manokwari

Coral reef is a term which is now increasingly related to diving and eco-tourism. Breathing underwater with the help of regulators, air bottles, fins and BCD among the corals and the fish is a unique experience. Recreational divers, when diving underwater, like to take pictures, or make videos of underwater life. All these recordings are shared with their loved ones at home, at work and of course on the internet. The beautiful pictures of hard and soft corals combined with various ornamental fish are displayed in modern art media i.e. photos, film and internet screen.

Canoe prow, wood, paint, and cassowary feathers, from Geelvink Bay, Irian Jaya; in the Basel (Switz.) Museum of Cultures. Basel (Switz.) Museum of Cultures (Vb 5980); photograph, P. Horner

As a matter of fact indigenous people, whose life depend on the generosity of the sea in providing food, have long been using the sea and the coral reefs as their sources of art inspiration. This can be seen from the writing of a famous naturalist, Alfred Russel Wallace. After making an expedition to Dore bay in 1858, a small bay which is part of Geelvink bay, he wrote his appreciation to indigenous people's love of art despite "their low state of civilization". In a book entitled "The Malay Archipelago," he wrote:

It is curious that a rudimental love of art should co-exist with such a very low state of civilization. The people of Dorey are great carvers and painters. The outsides of the houses, wherever there is a plank, are covered with rude yet characteristic figures. The high-peaked prows of their boats are ornamented with masses of open filagree work, cut out of solid blocks of wood, and often of very tasteful design, As a figurehead, or pinnacle, there is often a human figure, with a head of cassowary feathers to imitate the Papuan "mop." The floats of their fishing-lines, the wooden beaters used in tempering the clay for their pottery, their tobacco-boxes, and other household articles, are covered with carving of tasteful and often elegant design.

Did we not already know that such taste and skill are compatible with utter barbarism, we could hardly believe that the same people are, in other matters, utterly wanting in all sense of order, comfort, or decency. Yet such is the case. They live in the most miserable, crazy, and filthy hovels, which are utterly destitute of anything that can be called furniture; not a stool, or bench, or board is seen in them, no brush seems to be known, and the clothes they wear are often filthy bark, or rags, or sacking.

Along the paths where they daily pass to and from their provision grounds, not an overhanging bough or straggling briar ever seems to he cut, so that you have to brush through a rank vegetation, creep under fallen trees and spiny creepers, and wade through pools of mud and mire, which cannot dry up because the sun is not allowed to penetrate.

Their food is almost wholly roots and vegetables, with fish or game only as an occasional luxury, and they are consequently very subject to various skin diseases, the children especially being often miserable-looking objects, blotched all over with eruptions and sores. If these people are not savages, where shall we find any? Yet they have all a decided love for the fine arts, and spend their leisure time in executing works whose good taste and elegance would often be admired in our schools of design!

One hundred fifty years have passed and todays Dore people do not know him. I try to tract whether the love of art still exists among them. There are still some people who decorate their houses and canoes with paintings of fish and coral ornaments but their number is significantly reduced. I wonder why such wonderful talents of art have lost. Many planks look empty now - no relief, carvings or paintings. They have to race against the time, working for money. No time for carving and painting.

Dore bay has now become a rapidly growing town, Manokwari. It is the capital of the province of West Papua. The economic demands, the pressure of capitalism, the increasing pressure of life competition might be the cause of the lost of love of art among the Dore people. They do not live in a relax life like what Wallace had reported 150 years ago. It is so regretful.

Dore bay still offers its attraction to foreign tourists. Here lies around twenty wrecks waiting for divers to dive them on. But the beauty of the carved canoes has disappeared. There is a West Papuan artist, a prominent one - I dare to say, who works day and night to preserve the talents of the people living in this bay. He records design styles, ornaments, carving, and painting styles of the Papuan people in hundreds or even thousands of pages. His name is Thonny Mansiraken Krey. Unfortunately, most of his manuscripts haven't been published waiting for philanthropists to help him fund the publications of books. If you happen to read this article and intend to help him publish his works, you can contact him at his mobile: +62 852 44 7680 18
I am afraid that if we don't support the publications of his books, the art styles of the Geelvink people will disappear and be forgotten forever as if they never exist.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Don't take away the traditional rights of the villagers over the exploitation of coral reefs

by Charles Roring


Coral reefs are beautiful underwater environment that increasingly related to diving activities. In other words, healthy coral reefs that are rich of various kinds of fish are the object of lucrative tourism industry. Investors always want to build resorts, hotels and other recreational facilities near these coral reefs hoping that they can get more money from innocent eels, sea horse, fish, and fragile hard and soft corals.

To secure their positions, with their lobbying skills and money, they can even approach the local and national governments using such terms as "marine conservation, coral reefs preservation, and sustainable tourism industry" to implement MPA act to coral reef areas which previously had been the source of food of the surrounding villages.

Irrespective of "their destructive fishing" methods, the villagers living near the reefs are the ones who have to enjoy special privilege in exploiting the sea and the food which coral reefs have provided for them for hundreds of years. Tourists and resort owners cannot ignore these traditional rights.

Actually, traditional villagers are not lack of knowledge and experiences on sustainable fishing. Even though they are not familiar with the term "sustainable fishing, or coral reefs protection", they have certain mechanisms that are closely related to this matter. In my previous article entitled: Preserving coral reefs and marine environment through sustainable fishing and artworks, I wrote about how fishermen in Maluku islands control the fish stock of their waters through the implementation of sasi. When certain waters is in sasi, it becomes a temporarily no take zone. In West Papua, islanders in certain villages around the Cendrawasih bay (formerly known as Geelvink bay) do not eat dolphins believing that their ancestors originate from this kind of fish. The protection of such fish helps maintain the balance of marine ecosystem.

The existence of hotels, diving resorts should not stop the fishermen from exploiting their traditional fishing areas which mostly among the coral reefs.

When certain coral reef regions are turned to Marine Protected Areas or No Take Zones, the villagers who live in the nearby regions must get compensation. We cannot jeopardize their subsistence fishing with lucrative ecotourism business which can only employ small number of villagers. The villagers do not need English skills, certificates from schools of hospitality, or even divemaster certificates to earn a living from the sea. What they need are boats, hook and line, kalawai spear and fish trap.

The application of No Take Zone and the existence of modern fishing fleet have forced the traditional villagers to abandon their sustainable fishing methods. They turn to blast fishing to get more fish so that they can sell them at cheaper price in the market. Sometimes the traditional fishermen use destructive methods as cheaper ways to compete against modern fishermen, or to survive from the increasing pressure of nearby city living.   

Ecotourism businesses and No Take Zones can only be accepted if they give direct contribution to the traditional fishermen. Entrance fee which the tourists pay must be allocated to income generating programs for the villagers.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Threats to Indonesian Coral Reefs

by Charles Roring
Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world. It consists of more than 13,000 islands. These islands are located between Asia and Australia continents. Coral reefs can be found in most of these islands. Indonesian reefs have more species diversity than any other country in the world.

Nowadays, these world class reefs are being destroyed at a faster rate. Tsunami which occurred in Indian Ocean destroyed most of the reefs along the western coast of Sumatra island. In South East Maluku and North Maluku islands, hundreds of trawlers catch fish. Most of them are equipped with shrimp nets that catch fish and shrimp on the bottom of the sea. While many countries are restricting the bottom trawling practices, Indonesian seem to ignore them.

Coral reefs in Banda islands and South East Molucan islands have been dying for years from poisonous tailing produced by Freeport, the largest copper mine company in the region. Sea water which has been contaminated by this tailing has even threatened Great Barrier Reef in Australia.

Most of the coral reefs in Kepulauan Seribu have died since tens of years ago due to coastal development, sedimentation and debris from Jakarta, the capital city of the state.

People believe that reefs in Bali and Bunaken of North Sulawesi are still in good condition. In fact, the reefs in those islands are being damaged by debris from Manado city and some tourism activities. Many of the physical damages of reefs in Bunaken National Marine Park are caused by anchors and divers and snorkelers, as well as swimmers. Some recreational divers touch and turn corals or turtles. Many hotels or resorts built along the beach do not have sewage water treatment systems that are required to process and filter the wastes before being discharge to the environment.

Papuan coral reefs are not excluded in this case. The Geelvink coral reefs which have been in pristine for hundreds of years are facing threats from soil sediments. These sediments flow during the raining season from riverbanks. Rapid deforestation of Papuan forest cause more mud flood that flows to the sea. The mud covers sea grasses and reefs which are the source of food of fish.

From 1942 to 1944 West Papua was the battle ground US and Japanese troops. Both sides dropped thousands of bombs, laid sea mines and torpedoed ships. Today sunken ships, and unexploded ammunition still pose potential threats coral reefs in the Papuan and other Pacific islands.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Coral reefs are facing serious threats from rapid deforestation in West Papua

by Charles Roring

Rapid deforestation is West Papua poses environmental threats to coral reef ecosystem.  Legal and illegal logging practices in this Pacific region are responsible for river flooding that brings mud sediments to the sea. These sediments cover sea grasses and coral reefs.

National Marine Park of Cendrawasih Bay is the largest marine park in Indonesia. The bay which was formerly known as Geelvink bay is the home to some 18,000 villagers who are relatively isolated from rapid industrialization. The sea which is their main resources of food is now facing environmental damages. During the rainy season, soil sediments, stones, and tree branches are flowing from the mountains polluting the coastal environment.  Sea grass is the source of for many sea animals such as dugongs and sea turtles.  The more sea grass areas are being covered by sediments, the less the source of food can be provided to these animals.

In addition, the sediments shipped by the flood to the sea bed have blocked sunlight and food which is essential to the growth of the reefs.

Coral reefs are one of the most beautiful ecosystems on earth. They provide food both for sea animals and human. Coral reefs are colorful. They provide shelter to fish. Healthy coral reefs ecosystem can provide 15 tons of fish and other seafood per kilometer per year for sustainable fishing communities.

Immediate actions have to be taken by marine communities to stop the destruction of coral reefs and sea grass ecosystems in Cendrawasih bay. Deforestation of riverbank areas will bring mud or soil sediments to the sea. Marine communities must launch massive campaigns against the deforestation of forests adjacent to coral reefs environment. Special regulations have to be introduced to tackle this problem. Therefore, forest concessions around the Geelvink or Cendrawasih bay have to be reviewed by the local government to assess their impacts both on land and marine environments.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Plant and Animal in the National Marine Park of Cendrawasih Bay

The National Marine Park of Cendrawasih Bay is the habitat of various kinds of flora and fauna both for the protected and unprotected species. If you are interested in taking a sightseeing and snorkeling tour in this area, I suggest that you come with some of your friends. Don't forget to bring your own diving equipment, including the compressor. Cendrawasih bay is the largest national marine park in Indonesia. Some divers who have visited it claim that it is also the best. It is located in remote location. There are not any diving centers operating in the islands of Cendrawasih bay.
Wasior town
Cendrawasih bay of West Papua is a beautiful place. Most of its diving sites haven't been explored by divers. So far, the types of mollusc which have been identified are 196 from 3 classes and 56 families. The waters in Cendrawasih bay is also the habitat of various of turtles. Divers can see scale turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata), green turtle (Chelonia mydas) lekang turtle (Lephidochelys olivaceae) and "star-fruit" turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). Villagers frequently see dugong fish (Dugong dugong), bumphead parrotfish, aeobatus narinari, blacktip shark, blue whale (Triaenodon obesus), and estuary crocodile. From the 37 kinds birds which have been identifed, 18 of them are being protected. There are 64 types of vegetations in the islands ranging from coastal plants up to mountainous plants (up to 467 meters above sea level). Some of these plants are mangrove (Rhizophora sp., Avicennia sp. Bruguiera sp., Sibberatuia sp., Ceriops sp.); thatch palm (Nypa frutican), sagu (Metroxylon sp.), pandanus, coastal casiarina tree (Casuarina equisetifolia), ketapang tree (Terminalia catappa), Xylocarpus granatum, and etc. The National Marine Park is rich of animals. The types which have been identified are 200 coral reefs, 209 fishes, 196 molluscs, 5 reptiles, 3 water mamals, 37 birds, including 183 land animals. The marine ecosystem of Cendrawasih bay is the habitat of estuary, mangrove and pelagic fish. Some of them are butterfly fish, angelfish, damselfish, parrotfish, rabbitfish, anemonefish, surgeonfish, triggerfish. Fish that have high economic values are lutjanida, serranida, carangina, scromberomorus sp., katauwonus sp., eythumnus sp., and chellinus undulatus ruppell.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Largest Marine Park in Indonesia - Cendrawasih bay

by Charles Roring
Cendrawasih Bay National Marine Park occupies 1,453,500 ha. It is the largest marine park in Indonesia. Geographically it is located between 1° 43’- 3°22’ LS dan 134°06’ – 135°10’ BT. Administratively it is under two regencies, i.e. Wondama Bay and Nabire. Around 80 percent of the marine park is under the jurisdiction of Wondama Bay Regency.
The Cendrawasih Bay National Marine Park stretches from Cape Kwatisore in the south to Rumberpon island in the north. It also covers 500 kilometers of beautiful beach of West Papua island, as the mother island. Coral reefs, which are world class diving paradise, are scaterred in 18 islands of the core zone, protected zone, and limited exploitation zone. The 18 islands are Nuburi, Pepaya, Nutabari, Kumbur, Anggromeos, Kabuoi, Rorado, Kuwom, Matas, Rouw, Iwaru, Rumarakon, Nusambier, Maransabadi, Nukup, Paison, Numerai, and Wairundi.

Rumberpon island
This island is located in the north of Wondama Bay Regency near the border of Manokwari regency. This island has beautiful white sandy beach. The length of the beach is 6,000 meters. The island is surrounded with 100 meters flat reef up to the edge of the walls. The water is clear so, people can enjoy the colorful reef from their boat. It takes 5.5 hours by boat to reach the island from Manokwari. Tourists can also see various birds and animals such as eagle, deer, kuskus. In certain month, turtles come to its shore to lay their eggs.

Nusrowi island
It is located in the west of Rumberpon island. It is only a small island. The waters around it is shallow and full of various kinds of fish schooling among the reef.

Nukusa island
It is located in the south of Rumberpon island. The slope reef, mostly granulatus and acropora tabulate, is beautiful.It is a good island for diving.

Mioswar island
The island is within the administration of District of Wamesa. Hot water flows out from the ground. The spring is around 300 meters from the beach. There is a historic cave where you can see carved box, antique plates, and human bones. Besides enjoying the thermal spring water, and the cave, visitors can see waterfall or dive to enjoy the beauty of the reef of the island. Bats (pteropus sp.) live there too.

Roon island
It is located in the northern part of Wandamen peninsula. Villagers built their houses on the water. There is an old church with a 1898 bible. You can do the diving and snorkeling here.

Aitumeri hill
It is a historic hill for West Papuan people. Here, the Dutch used to run an educational center. The best Papuan intellectuals used to come from this hill. It is considered the entry point to Modern Civilisation for Papuan.

The objective of the establishment of the park is to maintain and preserve the diversity of flora and fauna in the region. This marine park supports the environment and the people who live in the region. Sustainalbe exploitation of the regions and waters adjacent to it will be better if the marine park is well protected. The Cendrawasih bay national marine park has 1.385.300 Ha sea area including 80,000 hectares of coral reefs. The park is also important for such activities as research, science and education, aquaculture, eco-tourism and recreation.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Divers must lead the clean- up of the coral reef and beach

by Charles Roring

Scuba divers are the first hand eyewitnesses to marine pollution caused by human activities. Therefore, diving communities must create awareness and lead the public to carry out the cleaning up of the sea and the beach.
Every third Saturday of September, volunteers from more than 100 countries participate in international clean-up day. This is the day where scuba divers, school children, beachgoers, citizens go to the beach and pick up debris. The collection of debris is not only taken place along the beach but also underwater especially among the coral reef which is the vocal point of fragile marine habitat.
The increase of population and human activities greatly influence marine environment. The garbage, the town dwellers threw to the sea, have polluted the water and killed the fish. Plastic debris such as bottles and cups need hundreds of years to decompose.
Many factories which were constructed along the harbor and coastal area produce harmful chemical waste that will destroy our marine environment.
Underwater clean up which includes volunteers have to be organized or lead by experienced dive masters or instructors. They have to make several dives to get a feel for currents and underwater hazards.
In addition, divers can also approach businesses to participate in the clean up day. To attract more volunteers, divers can write article about the importance of coral reef and marine habitat to our life and how clean up activities are needed to restore it. When doing the clean up in busy waters, such as harbor area, warn the volunteers of the boat traffic. Also tell port administrator and boat operators so that they will take precautions for that.
The cleaning up can be canceled and rescheduled if the weather is bad. When doing a underwater cleanup be sure to keep the number of divers smaller. Two or three divers are more effective than crowded ones. Two many divers may damage the corals.
Only man made debris that should be removed. Don't take bottles that have become the hiding places of fish unless there is not any aquatic life living in them.