THE SEA PEOPLE NEWSLETTER - MAY 2021Protecting Coral Reefs
Through Science, Education and Awareness (SEA)
Dear fellow SEA People,
We began 2021 with a spirit of hope and determination to make this year the best one yet for The SEA People / Yayasan Orang Laut Papua. We are now moving forward with creating a bigger, and more positive impact in the conservation and protection of coral reefs in Raja Ampat, and the abundance of life and livelihoods they support.
Indonesia still remains closed to international tourism, causing impacts both positive and negative in the region, and whilst this has also impacted the progress of a number of our projects, the first quarter of 2021 has still seen some key milestones reached with several of our projects and programs, along with the creation of new partnerships and collaborations.
It’s in these moments of progress and success, that we reflect on the many things we are grateful for; one of those things being our valued community of supporters….. YOU.
It humbles us to know that our shared mission to protect coral reefs has been continuously supported by so many generous donors as well as a committed team of Volunteers. For this we are very grateful.
Please read on for an update on the impact and progress we have created together.
Stay safe and well, and we look forward to sharing our progress and achievements with you throughout the year.
From all of us at The SEA People.
sea tracker goes live!
One of our major projects over the past year has been the development of a suite of digital solutions to help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of ranger patrols within Raja Ampat’s MPAs. In collaboration/consultation with an international NGO and ESRI, we are now pleased to announce SeaTracker; a custom software solution designed by The SEA People to help MPA Management Authorities, scientists, NGOs and other relevant departments and stakeholders to stay informed and make decisions about MPAs based on real time information.
SeaTracker is an innovative and easy-to use digital solution developed to meet the unique needs of Raja Ampat’s Marine Park Authority. Its custom design harnesses the power of GIS intelligence and enables rangers to easily record information from the field giving a real time overview of activities within a Protected Area.
Using SeaTracker, ranger patrol units in the field can instantly record and report activities occurring in MPAs via smartphone, which is then relayed and displayed on digital dashboards within relevant departments, such as Marine Park Authorities, (and in future Police, Sea Police, Tourism Departments). In doing so,
29.4.2021: Official Launch of Sea Tracker with Raja Ampat Marine Park Authority, Department of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries West Papau Province and collaborating NGOs.
SeaTracker is able to provide these departments with a clear and real time overview of the human activities within MPAs, and provide field data which can be used to make both immediate and long term management decisions.
After 12 months of technical development, we are currently deploying SeaTracker within Raja Ampat’s MPA network with the endorsement of the West Papuan Provincial government.
Whilst many more additional features are planned, this is a undoubtedly a milestone of which we are very proud! Stay tuned as we keep improving this promising tool and see its effects in real-time on the management of Raja Ampat Marine Park.
Yaf keru – an update on our coral gardens
The past few months has seen us revisit our Yaf Keru reef restoration projects in Sawandarek, Sawangraii and Yenbuba. We visited the sites with a sense of foreboding, fearful of discovering the effects of the recent bleaching event.
But we are pleased to report that despite the occurrence of bleaching between September and December 2020, we were struck by the speed at which the colonies we had planted as well as the surrounding reefs have recovered. Transplanted fragments are growing well, and natural recruits are making themselves at home on stabilising wire and larger structures.
While there can be debate around the viability of coral restoration, we are here in Raja Ampat witnessing its benefits right before our eyes! Our model of reef restoration offers a genuine solution at a local level to not only restore degraded areas of reefs, but provide jobs, and improve environmental awareness and local empowerment in terms of natural resource use management.
WHAT’S NEXT? YAF KERU ARBOREK!
We are excited to announce that throughout May-July we will be working on a new reef restoration project on the beloved Arborek Island.
Arborek is the most heavily touristed location in Raja Ampat, with it being on the list of ‘must see places’ for every tourist who visits the area. Already the reefs in close proximity to the local jetty have suffered degradation due to human activity; from boats to tourists walking on/handling corals.
This makes this location particularly important for reef restoration, in that it will restore degraded areas and protect healthy corals from further degradation, as well as provide the perfect opportunity and platform to educate visitors about coral reefs, their importance, and their influence upon reef health both locally and nationally.
Turtle Structure at Yaf Keru Sawandarek: 1 month after transplantation
Turtle Structure at Yaf Keru Sawandarek: 29 months after transplantation
the lost seahorse
The first quarter of this year also brought us a new partnership with The Lost Seahorse and its amazing creative team.
This short stop-motion film is based in the Bird’s Head Seascape, and tells the story of a seahorse who loses his coral home when an anchor hits his reef and causes him to be swept out to sea – in Raja Ampat, this very well could be a true story! Amongst the underwater adventures and misadventures full of predators, pollution, ghost nets and charismatic characters, this short film will cause all who view it to reflect on the ecological damage we humans have inflicted upon our oceans.
Kirsten Brass and Benjamin Fieschi-Rose, the creative duo behind the film, genuinely care about the state of our world’s oceans and coral reefs, and whilst fundraising to complete the final production stages of The Lost Seahorse, were able to dedicate 25% of all funds raised to our reef restoration work.
We are proud and excited to be collaborating with such talented partners, and very much look forward to building a home for The Lost Seahorse in amongst the next Yaf Keru!
the sea people store – coming soon!
A little heads up to our members and supporters – our online store is coming soon… where you can Gear Up to Take Action!
It’s not long now until our supporters around the world will be able show what they stand for by wearing eco friendly apparel from The SEA People.
Given the environmental impact of the textiles and fashion industry on climate change (which is the greatest threat to coral reefs), we’ve taken our time in choosing who to partner with… and after much research we are very excited to have found an ethical, sustainable and circular fashion* supplier to produce our merchandise. Think comfy t-shirts, cozy hoodies and more… that directly supports the protection and conservation of coral reefs in Raja Ampat, without harming the environment during production. Now that’s a powerful piece of clothing!
Our members will be the first to know when The SEA People Store is live, if you’re not yet a member (ie: have not yet completed your membership form) please click here to join!
*Circular fashion is defined as clothes, shoes or accessories that are designed, sourced, produced and provided with the intention to be used and circulate responsibly and effectively in society for as long as possible in their most valuable form, and thereafter return safely to the biosphere when no longer of human use.
The SEA PEople membership
The SEA People is member-based charitable organisation, comprising of passionate and dedicated people who are committed to the protection and conservation of coral reefs in Raja Ampat.
When you become a member, you join this group of people and are more actively involved in our organisation. You will be invited to attend the Annual General Meeting where we will present in detail our work, and where you will also be able to ask us questions, or offer ideas and suggestions, and vote on key decisions within the foundation. Our members will also receive priority consideration whenever an opportunity arises to join us in the field, or support us from wherever you are located.
For those kind donors and supporters that have not yet done so… we invite you become an official member of The SEA People by completing the form at this link.
the sea people AGM
It’s almost time again! Our annual AGM will once again occur during August/September 2021. Similar to last year, our AGM will be conducted in France with members from around the world able to join via teleconference.
Once the final date is confirmed we will inform all members via email. We encourage our members to attend in person or virtually to hear all about our progress and work in the field.
click here to BECOME A MEMBER
Complete your member integration form and become a part of a global tribe of individuals who ACT to make a difference.
welcome to paul and alban
Introducing Paul Gerbeaud and Alban Mazars-Simon, two of our most active Volunteers and valuable members of our SEA People team. Together, Paul and Alban will be working to develop some of the key technical components of the YAF KERU program, which up until now were on the ‘to do’ list but required additional hands to complete. We would like to extend our warmest welcome and gratitude to Paul and Alban!
Paul is currently completing his ‘Service Civique’ with The SEA People and in partnership with CRESCO, a research unit within The National Museum of Natural History in France, and is focusing upon the development of an innovative digital monitoring tool that will enable you all to track the progress of our Yaf Keru reef restoration efforts in real time. By using this tool we will be able to better evaluate the performance of our efforts, and more easily communicate this performance and findings.
Coming highly recommended by the director of Reef Check France, Alban joined the association earlier this year. With a background in Marine ecology and programming, this month Alban will be joining us in the field and in parallel with Paul’s work, will be focusing on testing and deploying a protocol for the large scale mapping of reef state, this time using automated Drone mapping tools! In collaboration with our Field Manager Tomi, Alban will also become directly involved with Yaf Keru Arborek acting as Field Coordinator.
The SEA People; a Global Tribe.