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Conservation success for coral reefs on Misool

Guiding Principle 10: Limit high-occupancy resort tourism to concentrated areas. Discourage resort sprawl from taking over coasts, islands, and mountain areas, to retain geographical character, a diverse economy, local access, and critical ecosystems.

Misool Resort is an exclusive dive resort and conservation centre located in remote southern Raja Ampat, Indonesia. Both Misool and its registered charity arm, Misool Foundation, aim to safeguard the future of the world's most biodiverse reefs and the communities that depend on them. They do this through a unique self-reinforcing model that uses business profits to support conservation. Profits help to expand the megafauna population, attracting more ecotourists and ecotourism revenues, which can then be re-invested in education and conservation efforts.

Misool protects a 300,000-acre marine reserve that covers the most biodiverse reefs on Earth. It also empowers local communities to become stewards of their natural resources. They run various conservation initiatives, such as a ranger patrol, a manta ray sanctuary, a turtle nursery, a plastic recycling program, and a community development fund. Misool also supports local schools and health clinics, employs over 200 local staff, provides scholarships and training opportunities, and promotes alternative livelihoods such as seaweed farming and ecotourism.

The impact of Misool’s conservation efforts is huge, with significant increases in fish biomass, shark abundance, coral cover, and manta ray sightings seen since the establishment of the marine reserve. In a 6 year period, fish biomass at several key sites increased by 250% on average, with recovery surpassing 600% in some key sites. Shark abundance increased by 25 times, coral cover increased by 60%, and manta ray sightings increased by 25 times in the No-Take Zones compared to unprotected areas and carbon emissions were reduced by 40% through renewable energy sources and mangrove restoration projects.

Misool Resort is an example of a nature-positive approach to tourism. By creating value from nature conservation, they demonstrate how business can be a force for good in the world.

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