“People are much more aware of environmental issues. Not only are they aware, they want to have some kind of positive impact themselves …they are actively choosing resorts and dive businesses that have a positive relationship with the local community and are doing conservation, that’s a very powerful message, businesses have to be aware of.” ~ Andy Miners

andy minersMaybe it was something about the frigid murky waters of Northern England that pushed Andy Miner steadily towards the equator. In our 2015 Summit Andy discusses the philosophy behind Misool, the eco-resort Andy and wife Marit co-founded in Raja Ampat Indonesia, and reveals how sustainable travel and sustainable resorts can be used as tools for marine conservation. Misool Eco-resort is considered a model where the resort was specifically created to support and fund a marine protected area. This sets a powerful example for other resorts to become a sustainable business and protect their marine environment.

Speak Up for the Ocean

Andy speaks about how to make a sustainable diver, “I think scuba divers and snorkelers and people that go on marine vacations have a very important role to play in changing the way we view and interact with the ocean so that we can stop this massive disruption…they’re the people that then become ocean spokespeople.”…“connecting them with the environment in a positive way, showing them the threats and issues and giving them solutions so that they feel empowered to make changes…it’s very, very powerful because that consumer power really can drive massive change in the world.”

Andrew Miner is Co-Founder and Managing Director of Misool Eco-Resort (MER) located in Raja Ampat, Indonesia in the coral triangle. He holds a degree in Psychology (1993) from Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK. After beginning his dive career in the UK, he traveled to Thailand and became a PADI divemaster in 1994 and a BSAC Dive Leader in 1995. The same year, he started work as a PADI dive instructor. Moving steadily towards the equator, Miners worked as a dive instructor and dive shop manager in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. In 1999, Miners started his own dive live-aboard business in Indonesia on his 60 ft wooden ketch Felidae.

Creating a Marine Protected Area

Fluent in Bahasa the dialect of Malay and the national language of Malaysia and Indonesia, Andy has sailed and dived across the entire 5,000 km length of Indonesia. After a decade’s worth of peregrinations from the very west of Indonesia to the wild hinterlands of West Papua, Miners has developed considerable knowledge of the local culture, customs and socio–political structure. Using this knowledge in 2005 he acquired the lease for the resort island of Misool and a Marine Conservation Agreement (MCA) with the local community protecting 43,000 hectares of sea from over fishing, for a period of 25 years. This Marine Protected Area is a No-Take Zone, allowing only the collection of Trochus and Green snail for 14 days in each two-year period, and only by breath-hold diving. Andy’s experience with ocean issues gained from developing and managing the first no take zone proved invaluable in extending the agreement in 2010, to create a second no-take zone around the Daram Islands covering an additional 38,000 hectare area.

Andy has created a marine educational program for his guests “one of the things we do with our guests is offer presentations, … a Dive center manager or marine biologist … gives presentations about conservation. We have manta ray ID and tagging programs. It’s entirely optional for guests, but guests find it really rewarding to learn more about the environment, and the community, and the area that they’re all diving in.”

Join us and Andy Miners to learn how to become an ocean change-maker and about establishing and running an eco-resort. Get the details on how Andy worked with the local people to establish trust and a workable relationship that benefited both Misool Resort and the local culture. Find Andy Miner’s extended interview on the Blue Ocean Summit 2015: Andy Miner and visit Andy’s Misool Eco Resort located in Raja Ampat, Indonesia.

Breaking News: Cruise ship grounds on pristine coral reef in Raja Ampat National Marine Park causing severe damage, see full post here.

If you were inspired by Andy Miner’s telling of how the Misool Eco-Resort was established to protect Raja Ampat’s reef, you will also find Cecile & Max Benjamin’s story of carving the Walindi Plantation Resort on Kimbe Bay out of the jungles of Papua New Guinea exciting and informative. For the Benjamin’s Ocean Profile go to: Ocean Profiles: Cecile & Max Benjamin