Raja Ampat Regency has an area consisting primarily of a group of islands. In other words, it consists of approximately 600 large and small islands, which include the big islands, namely Batanta Island, Misool Island, and Salawati Island. As a result, there are many water areas in Raja Ampat. It creates incredible biodiversity in West Papua. Here is the detailed information.
Ocean Area Condition
From an oceanographic point of view, Raja Ampat Regency is an archipelago with various sea depths. There are shallow to deep-sea conditions in some parts of the sea. It blinds marine biodiversity and fauna. In fact, there are also sea depths above 300 meters as a calm ocean current follows this.
Although most of the area has many hills, most people choose to live on the coast. It is because Papua’s marine products are so large and profitable. The Raja Ampat region has a tropical climate that is humid and hot, with the lowest air temperature of 22.4°C. Meanwhile, the highest temperature was 32.5°C with an average temperature of 27.4°C
The Marine Ecosystems
As an archipelago surrounded by ocean areas and relatively unspoiled, Raja Ampat Regency has an outstanding underwater beauty. One of the icons of this area is the beautiful coral reefs. As a result, the reef is very rich in various types of fish and mollusks in West Papua. The study results have identified 450 coral reefs, 950 species of reef fish, and 600 species in Raja Ampat.
1. Mangrove Ecosystem
Mangrove forests have forest formations influenced by the tides of seawater. It is the ideal habitat for fish resources such as spawning, nursery, and fishing areas. Generally, local people can also find a variety of aquatic biota such as shrimp, fish, crabs, and shellfish – which live in coastal and offshore waters.
You can find mangrove forests in Raja Ampat Regency on several large islands such as South Waigeo Bara Waigeo, Batanta beach, and the east coast of Salawati Island. In this case, the mangrove forest in Raja Ampat consists of the Rhisophoraceae family, the Sonnaxatiaceae family, and the Avicenniaceae family.
2. Coral Reef Ecosystem
Furthermore, there are coral reef ecosystems in the waters of Raja Ampat. Generally, coral reefs are scattered throughout the West Papua archipelago, but some spots have the most significant number. You can find coral reefs in the Districts of West Waigeo, South Waigeo, South Misool, Ayau, and Samate. The area has such charming beauty under the sea.
The function of coral reefs is to protect the coast and waves from storms. It is also a source of germplasm and biodiversity in the waters of Raja Ampat. But one thing is sure, and coral reefs are a habitat for various fish. Because of this diversity, Raja Ampat has extraordinary underwater beauty in good physical condition.
3. Species in the waters of Raja Ampat
There is a lot of life under the sea of Raja Ampat that you can find. Even various kinds of research prove multiple species under the sea. Coral is one of the biodiversity that you can find for real. There are 456 complex coral species recorded nine new species, making it the highest number globally.
Since there are many types of corals in the West Papua sea, this affects the species that live in the vicinity. There is an area with the highest species richness of reef fish globally because there are 970 species. Of course, all of this diversity is supported by excellent coral conditions. Most coral areas have natural habitats and are rarely touched by humans.
As you already know, Raja Ampat has a pristine aquatic ecosystem. There are various types of fish that you can find in Papua waters. In other words. Raja Ampat has enormous potential resources – especially pelagic fish. It can be found throughout the sea waters of Papua. The main marine fish found in the waters of Raja Ampat Regency are Tuna, Cakalang, Bloat, Mackerel, etc.
In the potential for pelagic fish, Raja Ampat Regency, you will find the potential locations near Waigeo Island and Tuna Mata and on Misool Island. It provides an opportunity for the surrounding community to make the best use of natural products. It is not uncommon for coastal communities to depend on fishing for pelagic fish.
Meanwhile, other types of reef fish with ecosystems have high productivity. It is also a place for fish with high economic value to live. The demand for this type of reef fish increases every year in West Papua. Generally, fishers catch fish and the creature in the ocean by using traditional bamboo tools and fishing rods.
Overall, the condition of the waters of Raja Ampat has a good view. Papua’s waters are still one of the richest biodiversity in the world. It is because of the geographical conditions of Papua, which are located between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. Thus, you can find various potential waters in Raja Ampat, from types of coral reefs, fish, and other creatures.