The North Sulawesi Watersports Association
Formed in mid 1998, the North Sulawesi Watersports Association (NSWA)
has adopted as its primary goal the promotion of North Sulawesi as a world-class marine tourism destination through fostering high standards of service and safety and especially by promoting more environmentally-friendly watersports activities within the Bunaken National Park, Lembeh Strait and all marine areas of the North Sulawesi province. The NSWA strives for environmentally-responsible and socially-acceptable common solutions to problems that affect not only the marine tourism sector, but also those which generally effect the health of North Sulawesi's valuable marine ecosystems and thereby the local communities which also rely upon them for food and employment.
The NSWA is an official forum for marine tourism operators to express their united concerns to government agencies and officials and to conduct large-scale public relations and education campaigns to benefit both marine tourism and the rich and diverse marine ecosystems of North Sulawesi.
As of January 2013, the NSWA included the following members:
Stopping destructive fishing
- Blue Bay Divers
- Bunaken Divers Seabreeze Resort & Sea Dancer Live-aboard
- Celebes Divers
- Coral Eye
- Eco Divers
- Froggies Divers
- Gangga Island Resort
- Kungkungan Bay Resort
- Lembeh Divers
- Living Colours Dive Resort
- LumbaLumba Divers
- Mata Karang Resort
- Mimpi Indah Resort
- Minahasa Lagoon Resort
- Murex Bangka Resort
- North Sulawesi Aggressor
- Siladen Resort & Spa
- Tasik Divers
- Dive Center Thalassa
- Two Fish Divers
The initial concern of the NSWA was the amount of dynamite and cyanide fishing that they were witnessing - it seemed that this was on the increase and if nothing was done then the reefs
in North Sulawesi were in serious danger.
In order to combat this distructive fishing, the dive operators donated their boats and fuel to the water police and rangers so that they could undertake patrols of the area.
The customers were asked to donate US$5 to help provide funds, and this was so successful that a number of fisherman were sent to prison - a first for Indonesia! The NSWA
provided advice to the management board of the marine park and this voluntary fee from customers has now been replaced by the entrance fee
which everyone has to pay to enter the marine park.
Making sure local communities benefit
The NSWA recognises that direct action is not the only initiative that is required in order to protect the reefs of Bunaken. If the local communities can see the direct benefits of tourism then they will also get involved in reef conservation. The NSWA are therefore invloved in projects to support this, including:
- Encouraging customers to purchase handicrafts made by local communities
- Promoting a scholarship fund for universtity places
- Providing money to produce a reef-awareness colouring book for children
- Hiring staff from the marine park, where possible
- Sending 150 children to primary school: they are from 30 villages in the National Park, from poor families that cannot afford the school fee and the obligatory school uniforms
The NSWA is also making their own operations more reef-friendly. They have banned all their members from using anchors, produced a reef-friendly booklet for tourists, and designed and constructed mooring bouys on some of the dive sites.
Influencing local government
The Bunaken Marine Park is managed by a 19-member committee called DEWAN which is headed by the Vice-Governor of North Sulawesi. It is a multistakeholder board consisting of dive operators, academia, pertinent government officials and village representatives. The NSWA represents the dive operators, and can therefore directly influence the management of the marine park, and promote conservation efforts and the interests of divers.
Activities and Achievements
The NSWA has made significant strides in improving the management and conservation of Bunaken National Park and surrounding marine ecosystems and in conferring concrete benefits of tourism to the villagers living within the park. These achievements include:
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- Instituted a voluntary but strict ban on all anchoring within the park by member's boats.
- Sponsored a mooring buoy design competition (with cash awards) for villages within the Bunaken National Park. Submitted designs were then used for installing a series of moorings at 3 islands and one mainland site in the park.
- Sponsored a village handicrafts program whereby local villagers have been encouraged to produce a variety of reef-friendly handicrafts for sale to diving tourists, including embroidered marine life handkerchiefs, coconut shell carvings of marine animals, and miniature replicas of traditional dugout canoes. Revenues to villagers from this program have topped 25 million rupiah.
- Initiated a scholarship donation fund that has already awarded two 5-year university scholarships in marine sciences and one 3-year tourism vocational school scholarship to villagers living within the Bunaken National Park and Lembeh Strait, and is now targeting 8 village children for Manado high school scholarships for 2002.
- Designed a reef-friendly marine tourism practices brochure to be distributed to all arriving guests, and sponsored a PADI Project AWARE workshop on responsible dive tourism for the Manado community.
- Donated funding to support the printing of 300 coral reef educational cartoon books for distribution to local school children ("Torang Pe Nyare", developed by NRM/EPIQ Sulawesi Utara program).
- Donated a library of reef educational books to the AlungBanoa village conservation information center and a set of costumes and musical instruments to the Bunaken village cultural preservation society.
- Instituted a night patrol system whereby members boats, fuel and boat personnel were donated for use on alternate nights to patrol the Bunaken National Park with park rangers.
- Initiated a "Bunaken Preservation Fund" user fee of $5/person that was collected from all diving and snorkelling guests of member businesses and used to support enforcement activities throughout the park. This fee system was developed in response to the growing threat from illegal and destructive fishing activities in the park. The enforcement fund is managed via a memorandum of understanding between the NSWA, Bunaken National Park Authority (BTNB) and the water police force (SATPOLAIRUD) and is primarily used to support increased patrol activities throughout the park. This patrol system has already resulted in numerous cyanide and blast fishing arrests. The preservation fund has now been replaced by the official entrance fee system.
- Sponsored the television production of the "Trashing Sulawesi" information video for airing on the local TVRI television station.
- Sponsored 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 "Dive Into Earth Day" beach and reef cleanups involving hundreds of local villagers and middle school students from the Manado Area.
- Represented the united voice of dive operators in North Sulawesi in calling to the attention of local and national government officials the current primary threats to the sustainable use of Bunaken National Park and Lembeh Strait ecosystems, including ocean trash disposal, destructive fishing practices, mercury poisoning from illegal mining, and unregulated tourism development in ecologically sensitive areas.
- Cooperated with the Bunaken National Park Authority (BTNB) in the participative Bunaken National Park zonation revision process and in suggesting innovative ways to institute a user fee system for park visitors. Also worked with the BTNB in reporting illegal activities within the park and reporting monthly visitor numbers.
- Committed to hiring more local villagers in member's businesses.
- Developed and sponsored North Sulawesi marine tourism press releases and advertisements in 6 international diving/tourism magazines.
Next time you make plans to dive North Sulawesi, please ask if your dive operator is part of the NSWA. Members will display the NSWA logo - a tarsier riding a seahorse.
Every time you dive with a member, a small proportion of your entrance fee gets redirected back to the NSWA. More funds means more conservation and more benefits for the
local community. Help us to help them.
Persons interested in making financial or equipment donations to either the NSWA scholarship fund or the Bunaken Preservation Fund may contact
the NSWA treasurer, Mr. Roel Jong-Dikkers (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
, phone: (62) 431-826151, hp: 081-24302974, or arrange a wire transfer directly to the respective accounts:
Bank Danamon, Manado Branch
Jl. Toar 17, Manado, Sulawesi
Account: Juud Dikkers (NSWA Scholarship)
Account #: 164 537 06
Bunaken Preservation Fund
Bank Danamon, Manado Branch
Jl. Toar 17, Manado, Sulawesi
Account: Juud Dikkers (NSWA entrance fee)
Account #: 164 537 14
© Dive North Sulawesi