Friday, September 10, 2010

Coral Reef Preservation and Ecotourism in Kaki island

After writing about coral reef preservation in the Dorey bay of Manokwari regency, now I am going to discuss about similar marine environment in Pantura region. One of the ecotourism destinations that I am now developing for tourists is Kaki island. Here the activities which they can enjoy are swimming, snorkeling, bird watching, fishing and eating lobster. Coral reefs around Kaki island and several coral islets in the region are still in good condition. I met a local Papuan fisherman there in July 2010 and expressed my opinion about how I and the local villagers along the northern coast can preserve the precious coral reef both for sustainable fishing and ecotourism trips. I told him that it is against the law if fishermen use bomb or explosive materials to catch fish. He agreed with that.
Kaki island is located near the Nuni village and I had successfully made a short video about how a small boy took his net bag from the sea which had been filled with lobsters. We all know that the price of lobster is expensive. The boys there caught lobsters at night. They dive without using diving gear. With only some outrigger boats, they catch lobsters that live among the corals. To catch the lobsters they use flashlight. They also wear gloves to protect their skin from sharp thorns that exist skin or shell of the lobsters.  The fishermen in Nuni village usually sell their catch to fish vendor in Kwawi near the boat terminal. The vendor will export them to his customers in big cities in Java.  Coral reef is the tropical rainforest of the sea. It is home to a lot of species of fish and other marine animals. While I was snorkeling with the Labrees in Kaki island in July 2010, I saw various species of fish and corals under the surface of the sea. I also saw some  tridacna clams which the fishermen had caught and put inside their boat. When these clams were still alive, you must not touch the inside part of the shells or your fingers will be cut by them. They are delicious food for the villagers. I hope that the local people there know how to preserve these important clams through sustainable fishing practices for the future generation of Papuan people. The sea in the northern coast is still clean. The coral reef there is healthy and full of marine animals.
Tourists who want to come to Kaki island must know that the current in the area is strong. They should not enjoy snorkeling there if they are not experience enough in handling such condition. Tourists should be accompanied by at least one local fisherman who parks his motorized boat between a sand dune and the Kaki island. If they are pushed away by the water current, the fisherman can move his boat closer to them so that they can easily reach and hold the outriggers of the boat and be dragged back to the shore. I don't know the exact price for a trip to island but the boat driver may request 100 thousand to 200 rupiahs. Try to bargain with him if you consider that the initial price that he ask of you is expensive. Usually, when the boat is not used for transporting tourists, it will be used for catching fish.
Additional income which fishermen get from the ecotourism activities in Kaki island is expected to support them financially so that they will not be tempted to use destructive fishing method that will be harmful to the coral reef ecosystem and to the fishermen themselves.
The nearby forest of the Nuni village is also in good condition. This tropical rainforest is home to cockatoo, hornbills, lory and reptiles that are endemic to Papua island. Ecotourism that I am developing in the region is still in her early stage. I hope that with more tourists coming to Nuni and the whole Pantura region, local Papuan people and city dwellers in Manokwari will give more attention to their forest and the marine environment and seriously protect them from any kind of destructive activities. by Charles Roring
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