West Waigeo National MPA

The West Waigeo Suaka Alam Perairan (SAP), which stands for West waigeo Nature Marine Reserve, is a national Marine Protected Area (MPA) that includes Sayang and Piai Islands and the Wayag island group. This MPA is located in the northwest of Raja Ampat, adjacent to the Halmahera sea, and covers 271,630 ha. MPA management is done collaboratively between the Raja Ampat National Task Force and UPTD KKP Raja Ampat (Raja Ampat Marine Protected Area Technical Management Unit). Administratively, Wayag is located in the District of West Waigeo. The islands in this MPA are uninhabited, but under traditional law, this region belongs to the Kawe sub-tribe, whose people live on the islands of Salio and Selpele.

Wayag is famous for its beautiful scenery composed of karst, cone-shaped islands and islets, and is one of the main tourist attractions of Raja Ampat. Some even say "you haven't been to Raja Ampat, if you haven't been to Wayag". The West Waigeo MPA is a habitat for much marine life including sharks, mantas, mackerel, grouper, coral reefs and falls on the migration route of many whales and dolphins. Wayag Islands are also a habitat for sea cucumbers, lobsters and top shell, which have important economic value. Sayang and Piai Islands are also very important nesting sites for sea turtles that need to be maintained.

Prior to their establishment as conservation areas, Wayag, Sayang and Piai islands were a source of livelihood for the people of Raja Ampat and Halmahera. These communities had used this land to grow coconut palm plantations and fished the surrounding waters for sea cucumbers, lobsters, groupers, sharks (for their fins), turtles and coconut crabs. The thriving ecosystem in this MPA is threatened by large scale fishing by outside fishermen, the use of destructive fishing practices, shark finning, turtle hunting for their meat and eggs, as well as contamination from mine waste runoff and spills.

The area was designated as an MPA through a Raja Ampat Regent Decree (Perbup) No. 66 of 2007, and was later reinforced by a Regional Regulation (Perda) Raja Ampat No. 27 in 2008. In 2009, the central government nominated this area to become a national MPA, and so was endorsed under the Minister of Marine and Fisheries decree No. 65 Year 2009.