My name is Riza Zamzami, and I was a member of the 2013 MantaWatch Internship Program. I gained a great deal from this internship. I improved my knowledge of marine and fisheries science, especially manta ray conservation, as well as developing many skills that have been useful during my career over the past year.
I learned how to work effectively in a team, and how to work under pressure. At times the internship program was hard work. We workedÂ in the field all day doing research dives and giving presentations to the tourists. Then in the evenings we had study and assignments to complete. But even though we worked hard, I always enjoyed the challenge. And these experiences helped prepare me for my new job, where I often have to think logically to analyse and solve problems.
I now work for theÂ Association of Coral, Shell and Ornamental Fish Indonesia (AKKI) as a quality control and field staff based in Bali. AKKI is involved in the export of sustainably sourced ornamental corals for the aquarium trade. I’m responsible for ensuring our products are healthy and of a high quality, developing good coral transplant methods, and ensuring that all our products comply with the licensing and quota requirements of CITES.
I was very happy when theÂ Ministry of Marine Affairs and FisheriesÂ declared all Indonesia to be a manta sanctuary in February, and prohibited the capture of these species. This year’s interns will have an exciting task ahead. As members of the MantaWatch family, they will become manta ambassadors, helping to raise awareness about the new regulations, and helping Indonesia implement this new protection.
I look forward to meeting this year’s interns, and to hearing your stories.