Marine Conservation Institute, recognizing the need for more and better ocean protection, is leading a major initiative to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030. Launched in 2017, the Global Ocean Refuge System is an innovative strategy to incentivize decision makers to establish protected areas that safeguard marine life and promote opportunities for sustainable tourism. Learn more about the program at globaloceanrefuge.org
Misool Private Marine Reserve protects complex coral reef systems and deepwater areas in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. In 2005, Marit and Andrew Miners and a local community created a partnership to privately fund and manage the marine reserve, laying the ground work for a collaborative agreement with the recognition of the district government.
The Misool Foundation was established in 2011 as an Indonesian charity to safeguard its biodiverse reefs through the empowerment of local communities. The foundation supports the Misool Reserve, alongside a number of projects including the Misool Research Center and the Misool Manta Project.
The Misool Private Marine Reserve is home to a number of endemic species including the bamboo shark, Nursalim’s flasher wrasse, Jamal’s dottyback, Bird’s head jawfish, and Misool cardinalfish. Misool also protects mangrove forests that act as nursery grounds and refuges for juvenile and adult fish. In 2013, the no-take zones of the Misool Private Marine Reserve – Daram and Misool – were found to have some of the highest concentrations of reef fish biomass in a survey of 5 Raja Ampat marine protected areas.
Misool Private Marine Reserve protects a manta ray aggregation site where two species of mantas can be observed interacting. The beaches around Misool are popular nesting sites for both hawksbill and green sea turtles as well. In October 2010, the Misool team, along with a group of non-profit partners, successfully petitioned the regional government to protect sharks and rays across the entire 40,000 km² of Raja Ampat, which adds another level of protection to the Misool Private Marine Reserve.
Also in the reserve, Misool Eco Resort operates in partnership with the Misool Foundation on the island of Batbitim. It promotes sustainable tourism while protecting Raja Ampat’s ecosystems. The Misool Resort helps to fund the reserve’s Ranger Patrol Unit alongside industry partners and private donors.
The Global Ocean Refuge System (GLORES) is a Marine Conservation Institute initiative working to build a global network of effective marine protected areas to save ocean wildlife. In 2018, GLORES grew to include 10 blue parks around the world.
"There simply are no richer reefs on earth, and our 1220 sq km (465 sq mi/300,000 acre) No-Take Zone ensures that this region will be preserved for generations to come.
Our first No-Take Zone was established in late 2005, encompassing 425 sq km of reef surrounding our resort island in Southeast Misool. The area was leased directly from the local village of Yellu, located outside the No-Take Zone. Unlike the rest of Indonesia, Papuan villages retain traditional tenure rights over the sea. The villages of Raja Ampat have a long tradition of opening and closing fishing seasons to maximise their yield, called 'sasi.'
However, as the demographics of eastern Indonesia have undergone radical changes in the past 15 years the number of newcomers to Papuan villages has increased dramatically. These shifts have shaken the foundations of Papuan communities, and many traditions, including 'sasi,' are disappearing.
When we first approached the villagers and proposed the idea of a conservation zone, they already understood the inherent benefits and needed no convincing. They asked for our help to preserve their local tradition of 'sasi.'
In 2010, we were approached by community leaders from a second village, asking that we create a conservation area in their tenure area as well. Our No-Take Zone expanded to include the distant islands of Daram, bringing the total protected area to 1220 sq km, roughly twice the size of Singapore."
Misool Foundation now protects a 300,000 acres/1220 sq km Marine Reserve at the heart of global marine biodiversity. The Reserve is comprised of 2 distinct No-Take Zones and a linking restricted-gear blue water corridor. The Misool Marine Reserve, which is nearly twice the size of Singapore, is leased directly from the local villages.
Inside the two No-Take Zones, all extractive practices are prohibited. No fishing, no collecting turtle eggs, no reef bombing, no cyanide fishing, no netting, and no shark finning is allowed. Visitors to Misool remark on the incredible diversity of the reefs, and fishermen working outside the Misool Marine Reserve report better catch.