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Remote Morotai Island Looks to Surfing as a Solution for Marine Management and Protection 
Belt and Road

A young surfer on the waters of Morotai Island, North Maluku, Indonesia. Source: Coast 2 Coast

February 08, 2019

By Nicolas Landa Tami

Surfing has deep roots in Indonesia, as both a draw for tourists and, on some islands, as a well-established local pastime. But can it be leveraged for conservation?  

That’s the thinking behind an effort currently underway in Morotai, a remote island in Indonesia’s northern Moluccas, to establish the country’s first surf reserve. The initiative uses surfing to draw awareness to the need for marine conservation and management.

And it’s being seen as an innovative way to address the impacts climate change, increasing plastic pollution and overfishing are having on Indonesia’s marine riches – the same ones on which many islanders depend.


Nicholas Landa Tami works with non-profit organization Beyond the Surface International’s participatory audiovisual program, Coast 2 Coast. He was part of a team that spent six months on Morotai teaching local students in partnership with A Liquid Future to tell stories about their communities through artworks and photographs.

Reporting for this story was supported by the Earth Journalism Network‘s 2018 Asia-Pacific Story Grants.


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