The expedition explores the entire Halmahera Sea area and its surrounding islands, including Ternate and Tidore Islands, Goraici and Bacan Islands, Patientie Strait, Damar and Widi Islands in the south, Weda Bay, Buli Bay, Kao Bay, Galela Bay/Tobelo Islands, Morotai Island, and North Loloda/South Loloda Islands. Halmahera is an island in Indonesia.
Download the complete route map (PDF, 1.61 MB)
The Halmahera area in the province of North Maluku is nestled between the islands of Papua and Sulawesi in Indonesia, stretching over an area of 24,500 km2 that includes the main island as well as the surrounding small islands. Halmahera is located in the Coral Triangle, the area with the richest marine life in the planet.
Various studies conducted have indicated that the area encompassed between north and south Sulawesi to the most western part of Papua – including the Raja Ampat archipelago and Halmahera – harbors the highest marine biodiversity, especially in terms of coral and reef fish species. Not many data and information, however, are available on Halmahera's marine biodiversity. Current available data on reef fishes was collected by Dr. Gerry Allen through a rapid survey in 2005, carried out in 28 locations in the south-western part of Halmahera. During only 37 hours of diving, Dr. Allen recorded an incredible 803 species of reef fishes. By comparison, Dr. Allen recorded 828 reef fishes in Raja Ampat within 60 hours of diving in 2001; this comparison indicates that Halmahera has a rich marine life that is at least comparable to Raja Ampat, if not more. It is highly likely that new species of reef fishes and corals are found in the Halmahera waters.
The area's amazing marine biodiversity and rich marine resources make it both a marine conservation priority while at the same time a target for development of economic sectors ranging from fisheries to marine tourism to oil and gas. The local government in Halmahera (North Maluku Province) is now facing very important decisions on how to balance between sustainable economic development of rich marine resources and conservation of globally-significant marine diversity.
IN DEPTH: Read a conservation success story about the largest marine protected area created in the Pacific Islands
The future prosperity of the people living in the Halmahera area urgently depends upon responsible, well-informed policies that allow for sustainable development while preventing the environmental destruction that has occurred in many other areas of Indonesia, including severe overfishing and illegal logging of forests that protect vital watersheds. To be most effective, these policies must be coordinated between national, provincial and neighboring local governments, as many ecological and economic processes within the region are strongly "connected" and operate across district administrative boundaries.
Given this situation, national, provincial and local governments and their stakeholders require strong support in developing effective, sustainable coastal and marine resource management that conserves biodiversity while benefiting local communities.
In order to achieve this objective, Conservation International (CI) Indonesia, The Nature Conservancy, WWF-Indonesia and other partners are conducting a preliminary assessment on the prospects for marine conservation and tourism in the Halmahera area. The assessment will also examine the ecological connectivity between Halmahera and the Bird's Head Seascape to the east and the Sulu-Sulawesi Seascape on the west. The results of the assessment will be used to craft a series of recommendations on the management and conservation of Halmahera's marine resources for local and national policymakers.
A new species of dottyback baring some impressive fangs © Gerry Allen
Healthy, colorful corals blanket the rocky seabed near the Loloda Selatan Islands © Rod Salm