Kaimana, West Papua IMMA

Size in Square Kilometres

2 173 km2

Qualifying Species and Criteria

Australian humpback dolphin – Sousa sahulensis

Criterion A; B (2); C (2)

Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin – Tursiops aduncus

Criterion B (2); C (2)

Bryde’s whale – Balaenoptera edeni

Criterion B (2); C (2)

Dugong – Dugong dugon

Criterion A

Marine Mammal Diversity 

Stenella longirostris, Stenella attenuata

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Kaimana IMMA is located in south-western Papua, Indonesia, and is part of the Raja Ampat Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network and Bird’s Head Seascape. The Kaimana region is a 597,000 ha multiple-use Locally Managed Marine Area (IUCN Management Category VI) that was designated in 2008. It consists of a variety of coastal and oceanic habitats, which support a variety of marine mammal species. The species of high conservation significance within the IMMA are the ‘Vulnerable’ Australian humpback dolphin, ‘Near Threatened’ Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin, Tursiops aduncus, ‘Least Concern’ Bryde’s whale, Balaenoptera edeni and ‘Vulnerable’ Dugong. The Kaimana Region represents one of only three known locations in West Papua where Australian humpback dolphins have been confirmed. Australian humpback dolphins have not been recorded from any other area within the North East Indian Ocean and South East Asian Seas region. At least four other marine mammals have been confirmed to occur within the Kaimana Region, with more species (i.e. Australian snubfin dolphin) likely to be recorded with future dedicated survey effort.

Description of Qualifying Criteria

Criterion A – Species or Population Vulnerability

The Australian humpback dolphin and dugong are listed as ‘Vulnerable’ by the IUCN, and considered to be declining throughout their range (Parra et al. 2017; Marsh and Sobtzick, 2015). The major threats are known to be habitat loss and degradation, by-catch in fisheries, water pollution, underwater noise, floods and cumulative threats (Parra et al. 2017). West Papua represents the northwest extent of Australian humpback dolphins’ known distribution, with the species confirmed to occur in three locations in West Papua: Mayalibit Bay, Bintuni Bay and Kaimana Region. These regions comprise extensive mangrove, estuarine and coastal habitat particularly important for their survival. Arguni Bay within the Kaimana Region is notably important, as it consists of extensive riverine/estuarine/coastal habitats. These habitats are subsequently important for the survival of Australian humpback dolphins and dugong in the region.

Criterion B: Distribution and Abundance

Sub-criterion B2: Aggregations

There are no known population or residency estimates for Australian humpback dolphins in the Kaimana Region. However, based on other known populations in northern Australia and southern Papua New Guinea, it is likely that the Australian humpback dolphin population in Arguni Bay is relatively small and resident (Parra et al. 2018, Beasley et al. 2013; 2015). Kaimana is one of only three regions in West Papua where Australian humpback dolphins have been sighted, with no other Australian humpback dolphin sightings known for the region. As a result of the habitat characteristics throughout Kaimana, it is proposed that aggregations of Australian humpback dolphins in this region represent an important concentration for this species. Kahn (2009) considered the population of Bryde’s whales in Triton Bay to be small and resident. Although there was limited justification for this statement based on nine survey days, there is undoubtedly an important aggregation of Bryde’s whales in the Kaimana Region, particularly between Bitsyara and Triton Bays via the Namatote Strait.

Criterion C: Key Life Cycle Activities

Sub-criterion C2: Feeding Areas

The Kaimana Region is a notably important marine mammal feeding area, as the diversity of habitats represents an important prey base to a variety of marine mammal species. These habitats include riverine/coastal/estuarine mangroves regions of Arguni Bay, coral islands, and oceanic deep narrow passages and canyons. As a result of this rich biodiversity and productivity, the region provides an important nutritional base on which many marine mammal species depend. The known habitat preferences of humpback dolphins are shallow and protected coastal habitats such as inlets, estuaries, shallow bays, inshore reefs and coastal archipelagos rather than in open stretches of coastline. In Queensland and Northern Territory, humpback dolphins are mainly found in water less than 20 km from the nearest river mouth and in water less than 15-20 m deep (Parra et al. 2004; 2017). Few animals have been observed in waters up to 30-50 m deep, but remained in close proximity (within 5 km) to the coast (Parra et al. 2004; 2017). In both Queensland and Northern Territory humpback dolphins have been also recorded as far as 20-50 km upstream in large rivers such as the East Alligator River, Northern Territory, and in the Fitzroy and Brisbane rivers in Queensland (Cagnazzi, 2010, Palmer et al. 2014, Parra et al. 2004). In Southern Papua New Guinea, humpback dolphins were only found adjacent to delta/coastal mangroves, and no further than 2km from the coast (Beasley et al. 2013; 2015). Arguni Bay within the Kaimana Region therefore represents ideal habitat to support biological productivity and concentration of prey aggregations for inshore dolphins, such as the humpback and Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphin.

Supporting Information

Beasley, I., Golding, M. and Anamiato, J. 2013. Looking for Pidu (Dolphins and Dugongs) in the Kikori Delta of Papua New Guinea – 2013 Surveys. Unpublished report submitted to James Cook University.

Beasley, I., Golding, M. and Anamiato, J. 2015. Looking for Pidu (Dolphins and Dugongs) in the Kikori Delta of Papua New Guinea – 2015 Surveys. Unpublished report to James Cook University.

Beasley, I., Jedensjö, M., Wijaya, G.M., Anamiato, J., Kahn, B. and Kreb, D., 2016. Observations on Australian humpback dolphins (Sousa sahulensis) in waters of the Pacific Islands and New Guinea. In Advances in marine biology (Vol. 73, pp. 219-271). Academic Press.

Cagnazzi, D. 2010. Conservation Status of Australian snubfin dolphin, Orcaella heinsohni, and Indo-Pacific humpback dolphin, Sousa chinensis, in the Capricorn Coast, Central Queensland, Australia . PhD Thesis, Southern Cross University.

Cooke, J.G. and Brownell Jr., R.L. 2018. Balaenoptera edeni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T2476A50349178. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-1.RLTS.T2476A50349178.en. Downloaded on 01 November 2018.

Hammond, P.S., Bearzi, G., Bjørge, A., Forney, K.A., Karkzmarski, L., Kasuya, T., Perrin, W.F., Scott, M.D., Wang, J.Y., Wells, R.S. and Wilson, B. 2012. Tursiops aduncus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T41714A17600466. ttp://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2012.RLTS.T41714A17600466.en. Downloaded on 28 March 2018.

Kahn, B. 2009. Marine mammal survey and training in Triton Bay, West Papua, Indonesia: management implications for resident Bryde’s whales. Unpublished technical report to Conservation International Indonesia.

Kahn, B. and Pet, J. 2003. Long term visual and acoustic cetacean surveys in Komodo National Park, Indonesia 1999-2001: Management implications for large migratory marine life. In: Proceedings and publications of the World Congress on Aquatic Protected Areas 2002. Australian Society for Fish Biology. 28pp.

Marsh, H & Sobtzick. 2015. Dugong dugon. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T6909A43792211. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2015-4.RLTS.T6909A43792211.en. Downloaded on 03 November 2018.

Palmer, C., Parra, G.J., Rogers, T. and Woinarski, J., 2014. Collation and review of sightings and distribution of three coastal dolphin species in waters of the Northern Territory, Australia. Pacific Conservation Biology, 20(1), pp.116-125.

Parra, G.J., Cagnazzi, D., Jedensjö, M., Ackermann, C., Frere, C., Seddon, J., Nikolic, N. and Krützen, M., 2018. Low genetic diversity, limited gene flow and widespread genetic bottleneck effects in a threatened dolphin species, the Australian humpback dolphin. Biological Conservation, 220, pp.192-200.

Parra, G., Cagnazzi, D., Perrin, W. & Braulik, G.T. 2017. Sousa sahulensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2017: e.T82031667A82031671. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2017-3.RLTS.T82031667A82031671.en. Downloaded on 01 November 2018.

Parra, G.J., Corkeron, P.J. and Marsh, H. 2004. The Indo-pacific humpback dolphin, Sousa chinensis (Osbeck 1765) in Australian waters: a summary of current knowledge. Aquatic Mammals 30(1).

Sahri, A., Putra, M.I.H., Mustika, P.L.K., Kreb, D., and Murk, A.J. 2021. Cetacean habitat modelling to inform conservation management, marine spatial planning, and as a basis for anthropogenic threat mitigation in Indonesia. Ocean and Coastal Management, 205: 105555. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2021.105555

White, A.T., Aliño, P.M., Cros, A., Fatan, N.A., Green, A.L., Teoh, S.J., Laroya, L., Peterson, N., Tan, S., Tighe, S. and Venegas-Li, R., 2014. Marine protected areas in the Coral Triangle: progress, issues, and options. Coastal Management, 42(2), pp.87-106.

Wijaya, G.M., 2015. Marine mammals observation di perairan teluk arguni. KrisEnergy (Udan Emas) B.V. Jakarta. Unpublished report. Unpublished report available from G.M.W.


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