Ayau Asia Marine Protected Area (MPA) is located at the very northern tip of Raja Ampat with an area of 101,440 ha. Ayau Asia MPA consists of a massive coral reef bank and atoll, with surrounding islands. Ayau is known for having the largest grouper spawning site in Eastern Indonesia, and providing large supplies of grouper fish and eggs to the waters of Maluku, Halmahera and large areas of Papua's Bird's Head Seascape. Ayau also has significant turtle nesting beaches of both Green and Hawksbill turtles, namely on Beach Mof. The common bottlenose dolphin, spinner dolphins and sperm whales can also be found in this area. In appreciation of the Regent Head Markus Wanma and the Vice Regent Inda Arfan who together are known as 'Marinda', a new fish species discovered in Ayau Asia MPA in 2015, was named Cirrhilabrus marinda.
Ayau Asia MPA lies within a region that includes two districts, namely Ayau district and Ayau Islands district, across which there are nine villages with a total population of 2,145 inhabitants. Historically, the population in Asia Ayau MPA are descendants from the Biak tribe, as well as the Wardo and Usba sub-tribes. Most people in Ayau Asia MPA are dependent on the sea, predominantly fishing on groupers, napoleon and other reef fish. Ayau has become the largest grouper producing region in Raja Ampat. In the 1990s, ships from Hong Kong would travel to Ayau to buy live grouper from the community and export them. At certain times during the year, a type of marine worm that can only be found in the waters of Ayau Asia MPA emerge. The local community call this worm insonem, and they are usually consumed or sold as an alternative livelihood source.
Intensive exploitation of fish resources in the Ayau Asia MPA has led to a significant decline in fish stocks. The use of dynamite and cyanide for fishing, has also contributed to the deterioration of the coral reefs that provide a home to all marine life. People have begun to complain that catches are dwindling and fishing locations are becoming increasingly remote. For generations the people living in Ayau Asia MPA have also practiced the traditional sasi system. Two sasi systems are practiced here, one managed by the tribe, and one managed by the church.
With the assistance from the Raja Ampat Government and NGOs, the people of Ayau declared the atoll and surrounding islands as a Marine Protected Area, endorsed by the regent decree (Perbup) No. 66 in 2007 and later reinforced by the regional regulation (Perda) No. 27 of 2008. The desire of the people in this region to restore the fish stocks to what they were before, continues to motivate them to sustainably manage the sea and its resources. Ayau Asia MPA now has a community patrol team and an MPA zoning system that will guarantee the long-term sustainability of fish stocks for the local communities.