Bordering with Palau and the Philippines, the Asia Ayau Islands are amongst the outermost islands of Indonesia, and the Asia Ayau MPA covers an area of 99,339 hectares.
This MPA consists of a immense coral reef bank and atoll, situated amongst surrounding islands. Ayau is known for having the largest grouper spawning site in Eastern Indonesia, and providing large supplies of grouper fish and eggs to the waters of Maluku, Halmahera and large areas of Papua’s Bird’s Head Seascape. Research conducted in the region of the Asian Islands and Ayau found that the Abor area in Ayau Besar is one of the multi-species spawning sites of the Saiseng Grouper (Plectropomus aereolatus) and Tiger Grouper (Epinephelus fuscoguttatus); these areas are extremely producting and are still active today (Wilson et al., 2010; Huffard et al., 2012; EBM Phase II Report, 2010).
A new fish species discovered in Ayau Asia MPA in 2015, named Cirrhilabrus marinda, in appreciation of the Regent Head Markus Wanma and the Vice Regent Inda Arfan who together are known as ‘Marinda’
The Asian Ayau Islands Archipelago is also an important habitat and aggregation area for economically important fish such as napoleon, trevally, tuna, skipjack and other pelagic fish such as mackerel.
The Asian Islands and Ayau MPA is also the location of important sea turtle nesting beaches for the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) and the Leatherback Turtle (Dermochelys coriacea). Bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus), spinner dolphins (Stella longirostris), and sperm whales (Khazalie et al, 2011) can also be seen in local waters.
Ayau Asia MPA lies within a region that includes two districts, Ayau and Ayau Islands districts, across which there are nine villages with a total population of over 2000 inhabitants. Historically, the population in Asia Ayau MPA are descendants from the Biak tribe, as well as the Wardo and Usba sub-tribes. Most people in Ayau Asia MPA are dependent on the sea, predominantly fishing on groupers, napoleon and other reef fish. Given Ayau is the location of such large grouper spawnings, throughout the 1990s, ships from Hong Kong would travel to Ayau to buy live grouper from the community and export them. However, this practice, along with the use of bombs and cyanide, was gradually eliminated when Asia and Ayau became a Marine Protected area in 2007.
In addition to fish and marine mammals, at certain times during the year, a type of marine worm that can only be found in the waters of Ayau Asia MPA emerges. This worm is known locally as “insonem”, and they are usually consumed or sold as an alternative livelihood source. For generations the people living in Ayau Asia MPA practiced the traditional sasi system to sustainably manage their marine resources, with two sasi systems practiced – one managed by the tribe, and one managed by the church.
Zoning – Asia Ayau MPA
Click Map to expand, and refer to Legend below
The table below provides a general description of the main activities that occur within Marine Protected Areas. For a detailed description of all activities affected by Zoning Regulation, please refer to Table 14, pages 48-51 of the Raja Ampat Marine Park Management and Zonation Plan 2019-2038
Click table to englarge.