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Save the reefs: Coral restoration in Raja Ampat

Updated: Apr 5, 2023

Clowfish Diving In Kri Island
Clownfish in house reef

Here in Raja Ampat, coral reefs are our lifeblood. Home to 25% of all marine species, these underwater rainforests provide us with lifesaving medicines, food for coastal communities, and important protection against storms and erosion. However, at present, less than half of coral reefs around the world are still intact. Of what remains, their health is quickly dwindling. Today, coral reefs face the combined pressures of climate change, pollution, ocean acidification, destructive fishing practices, coral harvesting, and physical damage from human development - among others. If coral reefs were to disappear, the health of the rest of the ocean - and the society we’ve built upon it - would soon deteriorate. Even in Raja Ampat, still considered to be the most biodiverse marine system on Earth, human pressures are starting to have an effect - in large part due to rapid and unsustainable tourism development. While we wait for local regulation and infrastructure to catch up with increasing tourist demand, it’s more important than ever that visitors respect our reefs - use reef safe sunscreens (or none at all), be mindful of your fins while diving, and never ever touch marine life.

Coral Reef In Raja Ampat
Corals in Raja Ampat

Photo by Nick Hulley @hulleyvisuals

Helping SEA People to restore coral's in Raja Ampat

In Raja Ampat, a growing community of ocean activists is taking a stand, hoping to protect one of the world’s last strongholds for coral reefs. The SEA People, known locally as Orang Laut Papua, is a field-based non-profit organization that works with local communities to create marine conservation solutions that benefit both Papuans and the ocean on which they depend. Instead of enforcing strategies in isolation, The SEA People works hand-in-hand with community members, providing them with the skills and knowledge to manage and protect the local marine ecosystem on their own. Currently, the organization is working on several key projects - Orang Laut Raja Ampat Megafauna and Marine Park Monitoring, Crown of Thorns Starfish Management Response, and Yaf Keru Reef Restoration.

Coral Reefs In Soul Scuba Divers
Scuba diving in House reef

Photo by Nick Hulley @hulleyvisuals

Yaf Keru has already restored 8,000 square meters of coral reef - the equivalent of almost 17,000 corals. The projects aims to soon reach 10,000 square meters, which would place The SEA People in the top 5% most successful coral reef restoration initiatives worldwide. The organization points to its relationship with the community for its success - locals are taught to transplant and monitor the reefs themselves, while reefs are intentionally restored in front of villages to create educational awareness. As the project gains more success, Yaf Keru is now inviting dive tourists to come and lend a helping hand. Divers can visit existing coral projects in the area, and then give coral planting a try themselves! Divers not only gain a new understanding of how the reef ecosystem works, but can make a tangible impact on the future health of Raja Ampat’s reefs.

How you can help the organization

  • Want to learn more about the incredible work being done by The SEA People? Check out their website.

  • Want to become a coral gardener on your next trip to Raja Ampat? Sign up to join The SEA People and restore our coral reefs! Find more information under our Community Projects.

  • Want to help from home? As a non-profit, The SEA People thanks people like you for their success. Make a donation today to help save the reefs of Raja Ampat.

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