Raja Ampat Marine Park Authority works in collaboration with local communities, government and the tourism industry, to manage the Marine Park’s natural resources and maintain the quality of the marine environment, whilst supporting a sustainable tourism industry.
Yet the success of these endeavors is largely dependent upon responsible behaviour from individual tourists and tourism operators within the Marine Park. Most who visit Raja Ampat are seeking to experience the region’s coral reefs, and the abundance of marine life these reefs support. Therefore, it is important for every individual to recognize that their presence, as an individual and as part of a wider industry, has influence and impact upon the very same reefs.
It is our hope that every individual visiting Raja Ampat makes an effort to ensure their personal impact upon the region is minimized, so as to directly support a sustainable tourism industry, assist in the protection of local reefs and help provide long term security for the local communities whose livelihoods depend upon a continued state of reef health.
When visiting Raja Ampat, please be mindful of the way in which you interact with the destination and environment. In addition to adhering to all Marine Park Rules and Regulations, and Codes of Conduct, please follow these general guidelines:
Local Communities and Culture
- Be considerate of the communities and culture that you are visiting and try to learn what you can of local customs before arrival. This will not only avoid confusion, uncomfortable or offensive behaviours, but help you to gain the most from your interactions with local community members.
- Be mindful of ceremonies or important religious days, and be respectful of your local hosts beliefs and practice on these days. For example; Sundays are an important day for church, rest and family time – do not pressure your host to take you on a tour on this day.
- Do not distribute candies, books, clothes or other donations to children in the villages; try to donate to a local organisation or ngo who will distribute these fairly and in the appropriate manner.
- Be mindful of the donations that you give; in some instances the items are unsuitable, or go unused. Always contact a local ngo or local organisation first to seek advice regarding what would be most useful amongst the local community.
- When taking photos of people, homes, or cultural items, always ask for permission first; particularly when children are the subject of your photo.
Waste Production & Management
This is one of the most important environmental impacts that an individual can have direct control over. Currently there no waste management facility on the islands, and limited waste management and recycling in the local capital city of Waisai. In the absense of such a facility, waste management often involves burning or landfill. Therefore, the most immediate and simple solution to a waste management issue is to reduce creation of waste, in particular plastic waste.
The following small tasks can help limit an individuals contribution to waste and pollution in the region.
- Do not litter (this is an offense according to Marine Park regulations)
- Do not purchase plastic bottles of water, soft drink, or other beverages. Bring a re-useable bottle with you from home and re-fill from large water gallons.
- Remove all packaging from items before leaving home
- Carry your own cloth shopping bag so you can avoid using plastic bags locally
- Avoid purchasing or disposing of plastic items in Raja Ampat (or Sorong and Waisai). If you do consume/purchase plastics and need to dispose of them, it is far better to take them home again and dispose of them wisely once there; there is no facility to effectively dispose plastic waste in Raja Ampat
- Do not dispose of batteries in Raja Ampat, there is no means to dispose of them responsibly in the region. Please take your batteries home with you and dispose of them responsibly once there.
Waste Water & Chemical Pollution
The islands in Raja Ampat are not connected to a water main supply and rely upon rainwater and boiling non-potable groundwater (limited) for use . And like anywhere on earth, water is an undeniably precious resource, that is necessary to support local communities as well as a thriving tourism industry in Raja Ampat. Follow the below guidelines to minimise your impact with respect to waste water and chemical pollution.
- Conserve water; many people tend to take longer showers when on vacation. Try to limit your showers to reasonable length
- Be mindful of your bodycare and haircare products: in many instances waste water from sinks and showers drain directly into the sea, or pass through rudimentary sanitation systems, contributing to pollution and eutrophication
- Aim to bring environmentally sensitive bodycare products with you, there may be times you are staying in accommodation that cannot provide soap, shampoo etc that is suitable for a marine environment
- Use only reef friendly/eco friendly suncreams; some of the main ingredients in suncream is proven to cause direct harm to coral polyps
Diving, Snorkelling & Water Based Activities
When diving snorkeling or in the water in Raja Ampat, you are in an extremely sensitive marine environment; and in the face of global climate change and localized threats such as COTS or pollution, it is important that any further negative impact is limited.
- Do not touch, chase or disturb wildlife
- Do not feed marine life
- Do not participate in capture/release activities of marine wildlife
- Do not walk on, touch, or break corals; be mindful of your position when diving and snorkeling, and never walk on coral
- Do not disturb wildlife, hold or rest upon coral, in order to achieve a better photo or video.
It is a breach of Marine Park Regulation, and in some instances Regency, Province or National Indonesian law to conduct any of the above activities.
General Good Practice
- Do not purchase or eat threatened, protected, or keystone species (e.g; sea turtle, coconut crab, colourful reef fish)
- Do your best to support tour operators and accommodation providers who genuinely practice sustainable tourism with respect to the environment and local communities.
- Where necessary, encourage tour operators and local business to participate in more environmentally positive activities, ie; decline a straw, plastic bag or plastic bottle of water if it is offered, ask to participate in a beach cleanup.
- If you see a practice that is harmful to the environment or an unsustainable practice (ie: waste disposal into the sea, anchor damage, poor tourism behavior) address it with your operator, or contact us with details and evidence of what you have seen.
One the greatest positive influences on the state of the environment in Raja Ampat’s Marine Protected Areas can, and should, be the tourists themselves. If tourists behave responsibly and also expect responsible and sustainable practice from tourism operators, Raja Ampat’s vibrant and abundant reefs can continue to provide important biological, socio-cultural and economic services in the region, including food livelihoods and enjoyment for thousands of people, both now and into the future.