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The SEA People is a not-for-profit community organization based in France that is dedicated to environmental education and the protection and conservation of coral reefs. Their fieldwork occurs in the archipelago of Raja-Ampat, Indonesia, through the local arm of their foundation, Yayasan Orang Laut Papua.

Raja Ampat is known for the richness and diversity of the marine species that it shelters and for the pristine state the marine ecosystem; with over 75% of hard coral species, and 1600+ species of reef fish, the region is currently recognised as the most marine bio-diverse location on earth.

The SEA People contacted GISCorps for assistance in designing and implementing mobile data applications and backend data structures for monitoring marine conditions in the Raja Ampat’s Marine Protected Areas (MPA), which cover 2 million hectares of remote archipelago. Two volunteers, Elvia Willyono, from Singapore, and Jose Francisco Sánchez Díaz, from Spain, were chosen to help the SEA People with their mission.

Field implementation has faced a number of challenges due to the global pandemic. Fortunately, the SEA People maintain strong connections with local stakeholders and the Raja Ampat community, and that relationship has enabled the project to continue moving forward. With the support of Elvia and Jose, The SEA People staff have developed and are currently piloting a range of custom data collection and monitoring tools for marine conservation designed to accomplish these objectives:

  • Improve the efficiency of ranger patrol activities
  • Facilitate real time reporting of marine park violations
  • Monitor megafauna species population dynamics, tourism intensity, and human induced degradation
  • Provide the ability to easily access, analyse and share the critical information needed to support MPA Management.

In the near future, upon completion of the pilot phase with local Marine Park Authorities, The SEA People and GISCorps volunteers will be working toward deployment across all MPAs in Raja Ampat.

Please visit The SEA People website for more details about their field work in Raja Ampat. For those who wish to support this community-based fieldwork directly, please join Small Change Big Change.

Recruitment complete; project in progress

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