Raja Ampat: a sanctuary for sharks and rays

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[photograph © Chris Hamilton]

If you’re a regular visitor here, you’ll know by now that we spend a lot of time around Raja Ampat. When you see pictures like the one above you’ll understand why.

Raja Ampat is one of the most diverse ecosystems on the plant and if you’re into diving and snorkeling, Raja Ampat is hard to beat. The corals, the colours, the marine life… Raja Ampat really is a bucket-list item.

Did you know, though, that Raja Ampat is a shark and ray sanctuary? Since February 2013, all shark species have been protected here, along with rays – sawfishes, shark rays, wedge or shovel nose rays, eagle rays, and manta and mobula rays. Because of Raja Ampat is a sanctuary, no activity that endangers their habitat is allowed. So what does this mean for the area, and how is the law enforced?

“Importantly, the law makes the strong link between protecting sharks and rays and the economic well-being of the people of Raja Ampat,” wrote Becky Pilkington-Vincett, Manta Trust‘s project manager for the Raja Ampat region. “This means it takes a holistic approach to conservation in which human populations are also considered in terms of provision of livelihoods, but are also punished with realistic and impactful penalties should they not follow the laws.  All around the region the tourism sector has worked together with local communities to enforce this new way of life as a positive one.”

Becky wrote a really interesting post on the implications of creating this sanctuary… please click here to continue reading on the Manta Trust website.

 

Screen Shot 2015-03-22 at 3.07.44 PM     PS Did you know that manta rays can dive             to depths of 400 meters? Click here to read other interesting facts about these beautiful creatures.

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