This is the fourteenth in a multi-part series chronicling the 2012 trip to monitor the health of coral reefs in Raja Ampat, Indonesia. This year, Conservancy scientists are traveling to Raja Ampat alongside colleagues from CI and WWF.

This post was authored by Edy Setyawan, CI-Indonesia’s Kaimana marine conservation and science officer, and is cross-posted on CI’s blog.

Earlier on this trip, I blogged about the importance of involving local people in marine conservation efforts. During the second week of our trip, I had the opportunity to get to know two local conservationists from the Raja Ampat communities of Kofiau and Misool: Naftali Manggara and Wahab Umbalak. They took the place of several CI local staff members who helped us during the first week of the survey.

Naftali Manggara

Since 2007, Naftali has been actively involved in resource use monitoring activities in Kofiau. Currently, he is responsible for fisheries and invertebrate monitoring activities in Kofiau Marine Protected Area. The presence of The Nature Conservancy in Kofiau has given him lots of experience, particularly in coral reef monitoring and conservation.

“As a local, I want to encourage local people in Kofiau to take part in protecting and conserving coral reef ecosystems,” he said. “This trip is a great chance for me to learn many things from the scientists.”

Wahab Umbalak

Before becoming involved with the Misool marine protected area monitoring team in 2011, Wahab was a fisherman who used potassium cyanide to paralyze and catch groupers and Napoleon wrasse for the local live reef fish trade. However, as he realized the impact that potassium cyanide has on coral reefs ecosystems, he changed his ways.

“Coral reefs have been destroyed and fish are gone,” he said. “So, I stopped using potassium cyanide.”

Besides being responsible for fisheries monitoring activities in Misool, he wanted to gain more experience. “I want to become the one who has capabilities in protecting coral reefs in my area,” he said.

Learn more about the Conservancy’s involvement in the game-changing Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security.

(Image: Naftali and Wahab pose in the middle of the Raja Ampat islands. Image credit: Edy Setyawan.)

If you believe in the work we’re doing, please lend a hand.

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