Raja Ampat Diving Resort Backs Conservation Foundation
Misool Eco Resort in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, is stepping up its funding for the conservation foundation which runs the 1,220 sq km marine park in the heart of one of the world's richest areas of biodiversity.
The resort is to give US$50 for each of its visitors and is asking them to match the donation. It expects the move to raise US$25,000 a year which will go towards funding Misool Baseftin - baseftin in the local language means protecting or looking after.
The no-take zone has trebled in size since its inception in 2006 and the foundation employs 15 rangers using two patrol vessels who regularly stop shark finners and other illegal fishermen in the area. Scientists have estimated that the biomass in the park has increased by a staggering 250 per cent in the last six years.
'Our goal is to create a sustainable funding model and ensure Raja Ampat’s spectacular reefs are protected for generations to come,' said Marit Miners, co-founder, Misool Eco Resort. 'Misool was founded on the principal that the reefs are our most valuable asset. This initiative is an investment in the long-term health of the reefs and therefore long-term health of our business.'
Marit added: 'Inviting our guests to match the donation that our business has made on their behalf is a powerful way to engage our guests and give them the opportunity to protect what they love.'
'This is a bold move from Misool and one that we hope other industry leaders will emulate,' said Marcel Bigue, Director of Marine Programs at WildAid which has helped fund the foundation 'WildAid has partnered with Misool Baseftin for a decade, and we continue to be inspired by their commitment to this extraordinary pocket of the underwater world. Misool Eco Resort’s Guest Match Initiative speaks loudly to those who want to be a part of nature’s future.'
'Time is running out. It is critical that private enterprises step up now and do their part in conservation,” Marit said. 'Globally, coral reefs are in crisis. If tour operators understand that nature is their primary asset and take responsibility for protecting their own backyard, the compounded large-scale effects could be monumental.”
The rangers impound the boats found illegally fishing in the park and the crew are tried by courts of local villagers which impose hefty fines. To find out more about the foundation and how you can help its work download its report. Misool Resort was founded in 2006 on the site of a former shark finners' camp.