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Category Archive: Raja Ampat Diving Tags

Raja Ampat Dive Tags and Conservation Fees

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The Entrance Fee Raja Empat
The Raja Ampat Regency Government is proud to announce the introduction of a tourism entrance fee system to help support the conservation and community projects within Raja Ampat tourism. To all tourists that entering Raja Ampat are required to purchase an entrance tag.

The entrance fee for foreign visitors is Rp 500,000/person/calender year (approximately US$55) for which they will receive a waterproof plastic entrance tag featuring a photo from Raja Ampat.

For all Indonesian visitors from outside Raja Ampat are required to pay Rp 250,000 and will receive an entry card. The annual tags and cards will be valid from January 1st until January 31st of the following year.

This tag system has been adapted from the very successful Bonaire and Bunaken Marine Park systems. The visitors are required to carry their tags or cards at all times, these tags can be easily fixed to guests’ snorkeling or diving gear or to their dive bag. The entrance fee system will be enforced through spot checks conducted by official patrols. The money collected is managed by a multi-stake-holder management team (Tim Pengelola) and it is divided between tourism development, conservation, and community health projects.

For the visitor who want to purchase the entrance tag can directly go to the dive operator on diving spot, or go to the Raja Ampat entrance fee management team which has established a booth at the Sorong Airport during the arriving guests and purchase the tags.

At this time, payment must be in rupiah, though they will endeavor to expand this to at least US$ and Euro in the future. In this case, the guest buys the tag and the receipts are filled in with the following information: guest name, country of origin, tag number, passport number, and email address (optional if the guest would like to receive further information about Raja Ampat conservation efforts). To ensure accountability the guest receives their copy of the 2 receipts, the accompanying dive operator representative receives their copy, and the management team’s copy is directly entered into the guest database.

Conserving Raja Ampat
The Raja Ampat Archipelago is known as the “crown jewel” in the Papuan “Bird’s Head Seascape” (named for the distinctive shape of the northwestern section of the island of New Guinea), an area with unparalleled marine biodiversity.

As of September 2008, current species tallies for the Bird’s Head include over 1356 species of coral reef fish (including 1223 in Raja Ampat alone and at least 25 endemics known only from this region), 600 species of hard coral (75% of the world’s total and over ten times the number of coral species found in the entire Caribbean), and 57 species of mantis shrimp (including 8 endemic species known only from the Bird’s Head). Other important features of the Bird’s Head include karst forests full of rare orchids, birds of paradise, tree kangaroos, regionally-important green and hawksbill turtle rookeries, whale and dolphin aggregations, and the world’s largest Pacific Leatherback Turtle nesting beaches in the Jamursbamedi-Warmon coast of the Northern Bird’s Head.

As more is discovered about Raja Ampat, its global significance continues to grow. There is now clear evidence that the coral around Raja Ampat may be naturally more resilient to fluctuations in temperatures, and thus more likely to withstand the impacts of global climate change. Powerful ocean currents carry larvae from Raja Ampat to reefs in other parts of Indonesia and the Pacific, making Raja Ampat the heart of the “supply chain” of species. This transport may help to replenish other reefs which have been damaged by disease, bleaching, overfishing, and other detrimental activities.

Without question, Raja Ampat and the broader Bird’s Head Seascape rank as global priorities for marine conservation!

Until fairly recently, Raja Ampat’s isolation and low human population have played a large part in keeping its reefs healthy and thriving. However, the region’s rich coastal and marine resources have made it a target for economic development ranging from fisheries and marine tourism, to more destructive activities such as oil and gas exploration, mining and logging. And thus the paradox of Raja Ampat – world unique, globally outstanding, literally bursting at the seams with biodiversity – yet highly threatened.

Local governments and stakeholders require strong support in developing effective, sustainable coastal and marine resource management that conserves biodiversity while benefiting local communities. To date, that support is coming from a highly dedicated team of over 200 international and local conservation NGO staff focused on improving the management of Raja Ampat. Working in concert with the local and national government and other local institutions and stakeholders, two international conservation NGOs, Conservation International (CI) and The Nature Conservancy (TNC) as well as the Indonesian government’s Coral Reef Rehabilitation and Management Program (COREMAP) are facilitating the management of the 7 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) recently declared in Raja Ampat. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and local NGO, Papuan Sea Turtle Foundation, play a key role in sea turtle conservation in the archipelago. In addition, the three international NGOs—CI, TNC and WWF—have an ambitious partnership throughout the Bird’s Head Seascape.

Together, these organizations have focused on a comprehensive three-pronged approach to conservation in Raja Ampat.

The first initiative has centered on the scientific characterization of Raja Ampat, including its biodiversity and the important large-scale ecological and oceanographic processes that influence this diversity. Besides generating world record species lists and describing dozens of new and endemic species, this initiative has also succeeded in revealing patterns of genetic and oceanographic “connectivity” that are critical to understand in order to develop plans to manage the region’s marine resources in a sustainable manner.

The second set of strategic conservation activities, conducted simultaneously with the scientific characterization of Raja Ampat, has focused on creating an “enabling environment” for effective conservation and collaborative management of Raja Ampat’s rich marine resources. Over the past 3 years, the various conservation teams have worked intensively with the local government and citizens in the 90 remote villages of Raja Ampat to both better understand their development aspirations and align them with a sustainable vision for the area while also dramatically increasing local understanding and appreciation of Raja Ampat’s biodiversity, the threats to it, and the need for local leadership in effectively managing it. So far, the response of local traditional leaders and village chiefs has been overwhelmingly positive. To learn more about some of these outreach and education programs click here.

The final strategic initiative (based upon the scientific understanding and strong local community support generated by the first two strategies) has been to facilitate the establishment of an ecologically-connected network of marine protected areas (MPAs) across Raja Ampat. In May 2007, the Raja Ampat government declared a network of seven MPAs that together covers nearly 900,000 hectares and approximately 45% of Raja Ampat’s coral reefs and mangroves. Effectively implemented, these MPAs should ensure the long term health and sustainability of Raja Ampat’s marine ecosystems. One outstanding achievement has been the work of the local NGO, Papua Sea Turtle Foundation, which has run a highly successful turtle nest program in the major rookery of Sayang-Piai in the Kawe MPA, effectively eliminating turtle poaching and protecting over 2000 green turtle nests in the past 2 years.

These three initiatives have made impressive progress over the past 5 years, but there is still much work to be done. Raja Ampat’s MPA network needs to be “operationalized” and the restrictions on destructive and unsustainable fishing practices strictly enforced. Marine tourism development must be carefully managed to provide optimal benefits for local communities while minimizing its “footprint” in the area. Perhaps most importantly, we face a continuous uphill battle to impress upon policy-makers and community leaders the need to wisely conserve and manage this area, as the seemingly inexhaustible global demand for commodities ranging from fish to minerals to timber products continues to create strong short-term financial incentives to mine all of these resources from Raja Ampat.

Hopefully, with the continued dedication of conservation NGOs, the local and national government, and local stakeholders, and the firm support of the marine tourism sector, the reefs of Raja Ampat will continue to thrive.

MARINE PARK ENTRY:
As of February 1, 2015 a new Raja Ampat Marine Park entry permit tag structure is in place.

The permit fee for international visitors will be 1,000,000 Indonesian Rupiah (~USD 100.00)

The permit fee for Indonesian citizens will be IDR 500,000

The permit will be valid for 12 months from date of purchase.

Raja Ampat Marine Park entry permit fees are directed to the operational costs of Raja Ampat’s five Marine Protected Areas (patrols, administration etc) and to community conservation and development programs.

Collection of the funds is the responsibility of a new organisation created to ensure the transparent disbursement of funds: The UPTD BLUD, an autonomous unit within the Dinas Kelautan dan Perikanan (the local government Department of Oceans and Fisheries).

The reason for the changes are twofold:
1) The organisation previously responsible for collection of the Marine Park fee was the Dinas Pariwisata – the local government Department of Tourism. The corporate structure of the Dinas Pariwisata provided no framework by which it could legally transfer funds collected to the intended recipients. The new UPTD, being incorporated as a BLUD entity, does.

2) The fees have been doubled in order to provide an income stream that will account for a larger percentage of the true Marine Protected Area operational costs and community development programs. Those costs are currently being funded by foreign donors – a situation which obviously isn’t sustainable in the long term.

The Raja Ampat Marine Park Entry Permit tag (or PIN) has been renamed the Tariff to Support Environmental Services in Raja Ampat and must be paid by every visitor to Raja Ampat.

Where does the Raja Ampat entry fee money go?
The information below explains the changes, why the Tariff to Support Environmental Services in Raja Ampat is charged and shows how the funds collected are used. Click the images to see larger versions.

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Where to buy Raja Ampat Marine Park entry permit tags
There are three authorised distributors of Raja Ampat Marine Park permit tags. Some Raja Ampat resorts will pre-purchase them on behalf of guests. Homestays do not offer this service as yet. Be wary of anybody else claiming to be able to sell you one.

At the Raja Ampat Tourism Information Center in Sorong

Permits must be paid for by bank transfer prior to pickup, or else in cash in Indonesian Rupiah at Sorong.

Contact the Tourism Information Center
Manager: Amy Zarta
Tel: +62951328358
Fax: +62951326576
Mobile: +628114852033
email: info@diverajaampat.org

Contact the JE Meridien Hotel
Tel: +62951327999
Fax: +62951329121
email: jemeridien.sorong@yahoo.com

At the Waisai Port Office Ticket Booth
If you’re pushed for time to make the ferry in Sorong, you can also purchase permit tags at the Waisai Tourist Information Centre on Waigeo. The Information Centre is in the building on the left at the foot of the jetty at the ferry port in Waisai. In the photo below, the office entrance is at the left of the building.

The office is open between 8am and 4pm Monday to Thursday and between 8am and 3 pm on Fridays. It’s closed on Saturdays and Sundays except for a half hour or so when ferries arrive, so you should always be able to get an entry permit tag there when arriving by ferry.

You may be approached on arrival by men checking to see if you already have a permit. They’ll guide you to the office if not. Don’t pay anywhere except at the office counter.

At the UPTD KKLD Office in Waisai
The UPTD Office address is Jalan Yos Sudarso, Siwindores, Waisai. Any ojek (motorbike taxi) or vehicle driver should be able to take you there from the harbour.

The office phone number is +629513170089