Indonesia: Raja Ampat is now a Manta & Shark Sanctuary
Indonesia, the world's largest exporter or shark and rays, has moved to protect these species in one of its top tourist zones, the Raja Ampat region of West Papua. The new 46,000 square kilometer are will be a sanctuary for sharks and mantas. The local government has already issued bans on shark fishing and finning in the area. Those of us who have spent time in this amazing region all hope this is the move we have been waiting for that will save the region from Indonesia's destructive fishing habits. Although there is no mention of enforcement, we can only hope that this will also be a part of the program.
From the Press Relase of the Nature Conservancy:
The Country Director of The Nature Conservancy-Indonesia Program, Rizal Algamar, said “We applaud the Raja Ampat government’s breakthrough in policy for having the vision to lead the way in shark and manta ray protection that supports the maritime regency’s commitments to enhance tourism and sustainable fisheries. Scientific evidence states that the value of live sharks and manta rays far outweighs the one-time profit of dead sharks and manta rays, benefiting a growing world-class and increasingly popular marine tourism and dive destination.”