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We are excited to announce that the Regent of Raja Ampat, Indonesia, Bupati Drs Marcus Wanma, has declared a Shark Sanctuary for the entire 17,760 square mile area of Raja Ampat.

This declaration is a direct response to the proposal presented by Shark Savers and Misool Eco Resort.

The Bupati has declared that, in Raja Ampat, it is now:

* Forbidden to catch fish with poison, bombs etc;
* Forbidden to catch fish using a compressor, purse seine,“Muroami“ and „bubu“
* Forbidden to catch sharks, manta rays, mobulas, live reef fish for the aquarium trade, dugongs and turtles.
* Forbidden to catch any fish at all in designated tourism and conservation areas.

This is an important milestone, as Raja Ampat enjoys the highest marine biodiversity level on the planet with 1397 species of fish and over 600 species of coral recorded. It has also been the scene of destructive overfishing that has severely threatened sharks, mantas, and other vulnerable species.

You may recall that we launched a petition in June of this year, asking for your support to ask the Bupati and other leaders of Raja Ampat to create this sanctuary. Since launching our petition, over 8,500 of you signed, together with hundreds of tourism companies and NGOs urging the creation of the Raja Ampat Shark Sanctuary.

In late September, Shark Savers produced the proposal with Misool Eco Resort’s Andrew Miners. The proposal included supporting research, documents, letters of support from Palau, The Maldives, and Hawaii, and the petition signatures and comments.

Andrew Miners held meetings throughout September with various tribal leaders, the Department heads of Tourism and Fisheries, and the Bupati. The response was positive all around. The Bupati said he would follow through with a letter to declare the Shark Sanctuary, which he has now done. Indeed, the Bupati was so enthusiastic about the measure that he has included dugongs, and turtles to our request of sharks, manta rays, and mobulas. He also banned the use of reef bombing, other highly destructive fishing methods, and the aquarium trade.