4 WAYS TO PREVENT MALARIA IN RAJA AMPAT

Many people think every mosquitoes bites in Raja Ampat and Papua can potentially cause Malaria. The truth is a lot more complicated. Here is how it works; The Malaria parasite spread to humans by the bite of infected female anopheles species mosquitoes. If bitten by an infected mosquitoes, the parasites multiply in the bloodstream of the infected person. The parasite may be transferred by another mosquito when it bites an infected person. The mosquito is then infected and can infect other humans when it bites them.

Because of this, it’s easier to get infected in the populated area such as the city of Sorong but a very small risk to be infected by Malaria in Raja Ampat due to its remoteness.

Malaria is an entirely preventable disease. To help you stay safe during your time in Raja Ampat, here is a list of 4 tips most effective way to prevent Malaria.

Mosquito nets – The best way to keep you safe from mosquitoes at night is to use mosquito nets over your beds. We provide mosquito nets in all our bungalows whether you use it or not. Not only does it ensure 100% protection but is also a chemical-free way to keep mosquitoes at bay.

Avoid dark clothing – Mosquitoes attracted to dark clothing. Bring loose long sleeves/leg clothes. Don’t wear black.

Mosquito active hours – Female anopheles active work hours between 6:30 AM – 6:00 PM. These are the time where they lay annoying violin buzzing in the ear and won’t leave you alone. During the day time, its best to put on light clothing preferably long pants and long sleeve shirts. Long sleeve shirts and pants is also effective in protecting skin from sunburn.

If you are in diving or snorkeling activity, you can choose to use insect repellent. Any mosquito repellant with active ingredients DEET 20% or more is highly effective. In Raja Ampat, you can buy insect repellant in small sachet brand Autan sold in every village.    

If you are using sunscreen (preferably reef-safe sunscreen), it should be applied first and the insect repellent second. The repellent will not work if you cover it with a thick layer of sunscreen. Alternatively, use a sunscreen that contains a repellent.

Anti Malarial medication –You probably don’t need this. Gam island area have not had Malaria cases for years. But if you feel you need it, its best to consult with doctor or pharmacy. We highly discourage the use of Lariam as it may cause adverse reaction.

It is really unlikely that you will contract Malaria if you follow all our top three advices. If you feel sick at any point up to 3 weeks after returning home. It is really important to diagnose and treat it as quickly as possible.

Have no fear. Malaria is easily preventable. Thousands of people have return from Raja Ampat safely and don’t contract Malaria. So don’t be too afraid and enjoy your dive trip!

HISTORY BEHIND NO FISHING ZONE IN RAJA AMPAT (PART I)

Raja Ampat is famous for its rich marine biodiversity. Scientists, media, and travel magazine have called it mecca of diving and included in top ten must visit places.

Few people know Raja Ampat that was once unknown since world war II end and forgotten for more than two decades. It was in fact a hotspot hunting ground by commercial fishing. Before it was known as ‘The Four Kings’, Raja Ampat was a haven for commercial fishing and frequented by large and small commercial fishing fleet from approximately 1950s until 2010.

Often the commercial fishing, foreign and national, were unregulated and illegal. These commercial fishing vessels came in fleets to catch as much as they could carry.  The mother ship would collect their catch, resupply the ship with fuel and logistics without the need to go to shore.

All types of illegal fishing were conducted by big and small ships from blast fishing (fishing with the use of explosives), cyanide fishing (stunning fish with poison), the use of giant trawler that razed ocean floor, and the cruel method of shark finning.

Shark fishing was popular in 1976 to 1981. Villagers often found carcasses of sharks with fins cut off in the coastal areas. Shark finning was usually done by fishers from Madura, East Java, Selayar, Buton and South Sulawesi but the investment for the vessels comes from outside Indonesia. Shark fins were transported from Raja Ampat to Makassar and to Japan.

Cyanide fishing began in 1980s and was once a popular method because it caught high prized fish. Most of the live catch using this method are exported to Hong Kong and Singapore.  The most popular catch are Mouse grouper and Napoleon Wrasse or popular among divers as bumphead.

Blast fishing in Raja Ampat was introduced by fishers from Buton, Sulawesi and Biak. It started on a small island near Sorong the Crocodile Island and soon also become popular among younger generation when they observed high profits made by fishers from outside Raja Ampat.

Villagers were recruited by The Buyers outside Raja Ampat. Villagers that chose to participate in cyanide fishing were supplied with boats and equipment. Villagers chose blast fishing, were supplying bombing material in Sorong. The Buyers offered large down payment in return for sole purchasing rights to the fishermen’s catch.

The exclusive buying right allow The Buyer to forced fishers to fish heavily in order to clear his debt. The blast fishing is so widespread, villagers in Waigeo, Mansuar, and Gam heard blasts almost daily. The reefs destruction is widespread around Raja Ampat.

HISTORY BEHIND NO FISHING ZONE IN RAJA AMPAT (PART II)

Illegal fish catches in Raja Ampat peaked around 1990’s to early 2000s. Live fish transport vessels from Hong Kong guarded by corrupt military frequent the area. More and more people involved in this business. At the same time, Raja Ampat that was once in the memory of the elder water teem with fish saw their environment destroyed in great extent.

A lot of native Raja Ampat worked and involved in the illegal fishing as it was the only job available to provide for the family. Herman Mayor owner of Daroyen Village was one of them. He worked in 1986 – 1989. Being born in Raja Ampat as the oldest in family, he work as a crew to support parents and siblings. The ship he worked were large trawler and later moved to blast fishing to catch fish.

Because of these dangerous activity, he and other crews boat were arrested in 1988 but released the same year.

Later that year, Herman decided enough and went to work in grouper aqua farm. A program supported by government to promote sustainable fishing industry.

In 1995 his father Marianus met Max Ammer who were looking to lease land on Kri island and ask him to work for his new eco resort that later known as Kri Eco Resort.

Marianus and his son Herman to join him and two other men Habel Sauyai and Boas Sauyai to work for Max Ammer.  These four people were the first employees that built the first resort in Raja Ampat. The year of 1995 was the year Herman introduction to hospitality business. Under Max Ammer, he worked various job as a construction, boat captain, mechanic, guide, etc.

By the early 2000s large fish operations began to disappear and fishers targeted small fish to supply the ornamental fish trade. The early 2000s was also a blessing. This is the time when several conservation NGO started to notice Raja Ampat. They actively began to raise awareness of the destructive effects of cyanide and blast fishing.

The awareness program have had some positive impacts. Many Raja Ampat fishers understand the importance of protecting the ocean that have provide food for generation. They stopped blast and cyanide fishing, shifting instead to longlines and gillnets which are more environmentally friendly.

Churches in the villages across Raja Ampat have actively promoted conservation in the sermons as well elders lead the way in self-imposed ban on use of destructive fishing methods. Local fishers who engage in blast fishing are despised by village chiefs and local elders.

The message of conservation has inspired villagers to support the implementation of large area of no fishing zone that we see today.