Coastal Conservation Profile: West Waigeo, West Papua

West Papua
Source : Sarah Beekmans

West Waigeo, West Papua, has magnificent marine life, and it is shared through the coastal conservation of West Waigeo. Coral reefs, sea turtles, sharks, and mantas are some of the marine beauties to see in the area. Now dig deep into more information about West Waigeo in the following elaboration.

West Papua
Source : Indonesia Tourism

The Amazement of Coral Reefs

The types of coral reefs around the Wayag Islands are fringing reefs and a small portion of patch reefs. The contours of regional reefs are generally steep to perpendicular, with a water brightness of 10 to 15 meters. The contours of flat to sloping reefs are only in the west and north of Piai Island and west, south, and east of Sayang Island and the bays on Wayag Island.

A survey in 2008 revealed that the percentage of live coral cover in the coastal conservation of Waigeo Islands ranged from 0 to 70%, with an average cover of 20.55%, while the average percentage of cover for other biota species was 17.49%. The average percentage of dead coral cover was 41.03%, while the percentage of sand cover and the coral fracture was 12.17% and 8.76%, respectively.


Sea Turtles and Marine Animals

Piai Island and Sayang Island are nesting places for green turtles and hawksbill turtles. The results of an 8-days survey found 38 green turtles and 49 hawksbill turtles (CI, 2008). On the coastal conservation of West Waigeo, you can find giant clams, sea cucumbers, lola, and lobsters as well as coconut crabs and are also a crossing point for cetaceans (whales and dolphins) which include Risso dolphins (Grampusgriseus), common bottle-nose dolphins (Tursiopstruncatus), and spinner dolphins (Stenella longirostris). The marine and coastal areas around the islands of Wayag and Sayang are also where sharks regenerate and restore their populations.

It’s quite easy to find baby sharks swimming around the beach. Additionally, there are many places where manta rays gather for aggregation. The potential for fish in the coastal conservation of West Waigeo is quite high. The average fish biomass at the observation sites is around 53.17 tons/km (Allen. M, 2008). The conservation area is important for whales, green turtles, hawksbill turtles, sharks, and mantas. The islands of Wayag and Sayang are also important for green turtle nesting and the protection area for other types of turtles.


Other Beauties in West Waigeo

A number of animals can be found in the coastal conservation of West Waigeo, such as canary crab (Birgus latro), soasoa (Hydrosaurus amboinensis), white-bellied albatross (Holiaeetus leucogaster), white-headed sea tern (Anour minibus), black-headed red parrot (Lorius lory) and king prawn (Halcyon sp.). There are also other types of ornamental fish, including butterfly fish (Chaetodon sp.), sergeant major fish (Abudefdul sp.), clown fish (Amphiprion sp.), kepe-kepe fish (Pamacentrus sp.), and sea tilapias (Dascyllus sp.).

There are 537 hard coral species, of which nine are new, and 13 are endemic. This amount represents 75% of the world’s corals (World Wildlife Fund). Types of coral reefs are found such as Acropora sp. and porites. Several protected marine biota species are found in this area, such as Skeleton Kima (Tridacna squamosa), Lola (Trochus niloticus), Giant Kima (Tridacna maxima), Horse Tread Kima (Hippopus hippopus), Bahar Root (Antiphates sp.), Trumpet Conch (Charonia tritonis). Several locations in this area are places for turtles to lay their eggs and places to forage, especially green turtles (Chelonia mydas), hawksbill turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), and dugongs (Dugong dugong).

West Waigeo, West Papua, is also has potential with its fishery sector. The main commodities are tuna, skipjack mackerel, grouper, napoleon, red snapper, sea cucumber, shrimp, and lobster. It’s surely high biodiversity in the coastal conservation of West Waigeo, isn’t it?