The Misool Foundation is campaigning for a marine reserve, a no-take zone that protects 300,000 acres of the most acclaimed coral reefs in Indonesia.
Misool Foundation, or Yayasan Misool Baseftin, is a charity on the private island resort, Misool. The foundation’s work began in 2005 when they leased 100,000 acres of the sea from the local community in South Raja Ampat, Indonesia.
At the centre of this area was an uninhabited island called Batbitim. Its white beach was strewn with the carcasses of dead baby sharks, whose fins had been removed to supply the shark fin soup trade. In 2006, construction work began on the site of the former shark-finning camp. The primary objective was to establish a conservation centre. However, a funding vehicle was necessary to drive the conservation work. And thus the resort called Misool was born. It was built entirely of reclaimed wood, and not a single tree was cut down in the process.
The foundation reported that rampant shark fin fishing and unchecked poaching were destroying some of the most important and biodiverse reefs on earth. In 2005, a partnership between local communities and the Misool Eco Resort resulted in the creation of the region’s first “no-take zone.” It has since expanded and now protects a 300,000 acres Marine Reserve. The reserve itself is comprised of 2 distinct zones and a 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 turtle eggs collection, no reef bombing, no cyanide fishing, no netting, and no shark fishing or finning are allowed.
With a permanent staff of 15, Misool Foundation’s base camp is at the Misool Eco Resort. The Rangers move between the base camp and ranger stations on Yellit, Kalig, and Daram islands. The Rangers maintain constant vigilance over the marine reserve with physical patrols, radar and drone surveillance.
The foundation wants to promote sustainable tourism as a better opportunity for locals than logging, mining or fishing. They are expanding their mission to address pressing conservation issues across Indonesia, by developing other various programs and campaigns focused on safeguarding threatened species and important marine habitats.