Protecting Raja Ampat through Misool Foundation
Posted by Carmin Arnot
Asked to name a favorite destination in the world, our Apex Expeditions leaders would tell you that is virtually impossible. Our favorites would surely fill this page and more! But one of our favorite destinations which we find ourselves navigating back to whenever possible is Raja Ampat. This special place is in the heart of the Coral Triangle and considered to be the most biodiverse marine habitat on Earth. Raja Ampat is home to 600 species of hard coral and close to 1,500 types of reef fish, creating an extraordinary environment where you can dive and snorkel over pristine, rainbow-colored reefs packed with life—a cornucopia of sights and sounds that are simply unforgettable.
Protecting Raja Ampat’s marine life
At Apex, we believe in exploring the wonders of our wild world while at the same time, making every effort to conserve these wonders for future generations. This is why we are so pleased to continue our support of the Misool Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, that is working hard to protect the marine life of Raja Ampat and more importantly, seeing measurable conservation results.
In the 1990s, destructive fishing and shark finning were destroying some of the most important and biodiverse reefs on Earth. Misool Foundation began in 2005 with a partnership between the local communities and Misool Resort, and the lease of 100,000 acres of sea from the local community to create the region’s first No Take Zone. They also established the Misool Ranger Patrol, employing local individuals to enforce regulations and provide continued protection. Misool Foundation has since expanded to protect the 300,000-acre Misool Marine Reserve with two distinct No Take Zones where all extractive practices are prohibited—no fishing, no collecting turtle eggs, no reef bombing, no netting, and no shark finning.
The positive, long-term effects for the community of these No Take Zones translated into an increase in fish catch near the villages. At the same time, the conservation successes have been astounding. The Misool Foundation has conducted scientific surveys within the Misool Marine Reserve since 2007 and their findings show:
- Fish biomass increased by 248% between 2007 and 2021
- There are 25 times more sharks inside the Misool Marine Reserve than directly outside of it
- The sub-population of mantas at Misool has doubled over 10 years
- In 2022, the protection of sea turtle nests resulted in the release of 580 Hawksbill and Green Turtle hatchlings
If you’d like to learn more or perhaps make a contribution to their work, the Misool Foundation has an excellent website which describes their programs and impact. We wish the team at Misool Foundation continued conservation success.
Explore Raja Ampat with Apex
In 2024, Apex is sailing through Raja Ampat on our Bali to Cairns expedition. We couldn’t be more thrilled to explore this region with you—the whole itinerary is just fantastic! Join us!