Dampier Strait Marine Protected Area (MPA) is the second largest of the Marine Park MPAs, covering a total area of 353,531 hectares.
Geographically it consists of three parts; the coastal areas of Gam and Mansuar Islands, coastal areas of Batanta Island and the Coastal areas of Northern/North-Eastern Salawati Island.
Whist Raja Ampat is at the heart of the Coral Triangle, the Dampier Strait is at the heart of Raja Ampat. Strong ocean currents moving from the Pacific Ocean combine with deepwater upwellings bringing an abundance of rich nutrients into the waters of the strait, providing the ideal environment for marine animals to feed, and coral reefs to thrive.
Dampier Strait MPA boasts the highest diversity in all of Raja Ampat, and is known for its vibrant reefs and the marine life these reefs support. The region attracts many large pelagic fish including sharks, tuna, snapper, grouper, barracuda and trevally. The Dampier Strait is also a safe haven and migratory corridor for many marine mammals such as whales, dolphins and dugongs, and is particularly famous for its aggregations of both species of manta ray.
The reefs themselves are alive with colour and movement, with soft and hard corals interconnecting to form habitats for a wide variety of invertebrates and grazers, which in turn attract the larger pelagic and predatory species.
With this superb underwater environment and close location to the district capital of Raja Ampat, the local government determined that the central area of the Dampier Strait become the primary marine tourism area, subject to sustainable management and development principles.
Within the Dampier Strait, there are 28 coastal villages with another 6 further inland in north-east Salawati. Villages vary in their current capacity to support tourism and conservation efforts, with the main villages to experience cultural tourism being Sawinggrai, Arborek, Sawandarek and Yenbuba, Saporkren and Arefi. When in the Dampier Strait, visitors to these local communities can interact with local people, watch traditional dances, view the endemic Birds of Paradise, go kayakking, or stay in a local homestay. It is important to be culturally aware when visiting any community in Raja Ampat, please see our Local Communtiesand Culture and Heritagepages for more information.
In more remote areas of the Dampier Strait MPA, where tourism is limited or non-existent, local communities in collaboration with Raja Ampat Marine Park Authority and non-profit organizations Conservation International and RARE, developed the ‘Indigenous Fisheries Area’ initiative. This initiative was developed in an effort to manage living natural resources in a sustainable manner, giving rights to use fisheries resources based upon the customary territories of each village or hamlet. In total, there are 10 villages on Batanta Island, and 9 villages on Salawati Island that are part of this initiative.
Sustainable Tourism within the Dampier Strait aims to provide definitive examples to the local communities that conservation can provide economic benefits to the community through eco-tourism.
Zoning – Dampier Strait 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.