In 2006, Andrew Miners’ vision was to build an eco-resort and center for marine conservation in West Papua, Indonesia. This place holds the world’s most bio diverse marine habitat. He has now transformed his vision into one of the most promising conservation programs worldwide.
In order to accomplish this, he had to fight against shark finning and dynamite fishing- two popular but destructive commercial activities.
When Andrew Miners first set foot in Babitim, he found the remnants of a shark finning camp. The breath-taking beauty of the island was overshadowed by this atrocity.
Andrew’s idea was to create a conservation center that would sustain itself through the tourists that would come to visit the resort. His vision has changed over time but one thing that remains the same is the mission to provide a top quality true eco-resort experience.
Andrew Miners was born in England and decided to travel the world from a very young age. He eventually ended up in Asia where he worked as a diving guide for a while. As soon as he began negotiating the lease of the island, he asked the owners to make it a no-fishing zone.
At this point they have to patrol the area daily to keep the fishermen from encroaching because there are a group of islands to the east where shark-finning and dynamite fishing is still a common practice. One solution is to come to an agreement with local community leaders to extend the protection to those islands. In order to make that happen they also need the support of local authorities, government, and international conservation organizations.
Andrew didn’t only have the energy to build his vision, his infectious enthusiasm makes others want to join him. Raising the money to fund his dream was a challenge and it felt like drawing blood from a stone.
The island also posed some difficulties. There’s no source of water, so they had to figure out a system to get water to the island for building, cooking, and hygiene.
These days tourism to the area has increased substantially and visitors are charged a fee to enter this protected marine area. This has proven very beneficial for the community.
Many pristine environments are disappearing all over the world and in order to stop this, we can’t wait for the authorities to act. Individuals need to take a stand.