Bangka Island declares new Marine Protected Areas in North Sulawesi


One of the highlights of diving with Murex Dive Resorts in North Sulawesi is their stunning House Reefs. Whether you choose to stay at Murex Manado for diving in Manado Bay and the Bunaken Marine Park, Murex Bangka or discover Sulawesi’s top three locations with a Passport to Paradise (Bunaken -> Bangka -> Lembeh) you’ll have a phenomenal dive site just a step off the beach.

Murex Bangka – Beach Front Cottages.

Murex Bangka House Reef is a colorful sloping reef which is home to a plethora of marine species. As you enter the crystal clear waters from Murex Bangka’s white sand beach you’ll be immediately captivated by the shallow reef top, bommies and fields of staghorn corals which attract schools of colorful damselfish. As you venture further from the shore you’ll find the impressive sloping reef which boasts sea fans, hard coral bommies, and kaleidoscopic soft corals.

Bangka House Reef. Photo: Alex Harnisch.

The House Reef is packed with unique critters including pygmy seahorses, frogfish, stingrays, mantis shrimps, octopus, cuttlefish and a host of tropical reef fishes. Remember to keep an eye out to the blue to catch a glimpse of schooling fusiliers and passing pelagics including eagle rays, tuna, barracuda and trevally. With such a diversity of marine life inhabiting the House Reef, the local village of Lihunu were keen to protect this phenomenal site.

The local community of Lihunu village on Bangka Island understand the importance of protecting shallow reefs as both spawning areas and nurseries for juvenile fish. Earlier this year the village decreed that 35% of the shoreline in front of Lihunu village be declared a Marine Protected Area at official village level and they extended the decree to include Murex Bangka’s House Reef. The Decree was also sanctioned by the Marine and Ocean Office of North Minahasa.

Murex Bangka House Reef Protected Area.

In order to support this incredible village initiative, Murex Dive Resorts have contributed to the project by supplying the buoys and ropes which now demarcate the protected areas in front of Lihunu Village and Murex Bangka. Both protected areas are now no-fishing areas.

Diving and snorkeling continues on Murex’s House Reef and Murex are excited to see the impact that this new protection has on marine life. In the near future Murex plans to carry out coral monitoring in partnership with Ocean Gardener in order to track changes on the reef. To ensure that the Marine Protection is enforced, any fishing boats entering either protected area will be reported to the village. Lihunu village will continue to work with the local government and enforce the protection while Murex Dive Resorts will take responsibility for maintaining the boundaries of both zones.

Bangka boat trip.

Lihunu Village has also taken part in Ocean Gardener community training organized by the conservation aware Murex team to learn more about corals and coral farming. This latest development on Bangka Island is one which shows community commitment to reef protection and sustainable fishing in North Sulawesi.

Divers who would like to know more about corals, their importance to diving environments and reef systems, and how to identify different species, are encouraged to take part in an Ocean Gardener course during their stay at Murex Bangka.

Bird’s eye view of Bangka.

Are you planning your next trip to North Sulawesi? Murex Dive Resorts are the pioneers of diving in this spectacular region, are environmentally aware and offer comfortable accommodation in friendly and professional sea front resorts.

For more information or to make a reservation, contact Murex Dive Resorts on or view their website:

Sarah Wormald

Sarah Wormald

Sarah Ann Wormald is a writer and PADI Master Instructor with a passion for underwater photography and conservation. Sarah is the author of “Diving in Indonesia” and “Diving in South East Asia” (Tuttle Publishing). With over 20 years of diving experience, Sarah has dived all over the Indonesian Archipelago and South East Asia. Find out more at

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