Andrew Miners, Co-Founder and Managing Director MER, holds a degree in Psychology (1993) from Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK. After beginning his dive career in the UK, he traveled to Thailand and became a PADI divemaster in 1994 and a BSAC Dive Leader in 1995. The same year, he started work as a PADI dive instructor. Moving steadily towards the equator, Miners worked as a dive instructor and dive shop manager in Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. In 1999, Miners started his own dive live-aboard business in Indonesia on his 60 ft wooden ketch Felidae.
Fluent in Bahasa Indonesia, he has sailed and dived across the entire 5,000 km length of Indonesia. After a decade’s worth of peregrinations from the very west of Indonesia to the wild hinterlands of West Papua, Miners has developed considerable knowledge of the local culture, customs and socio–political structure. Using this knowledge in 2005 he developed the existing lease for the resort island and a Marine Conservation Agreement (MCA) with the local community protecting 43,000 hectares of sea for a period of 25 years. This MCA is a No-Take Zone, allowing only the collection of Trochus and Green snail for 14 days each two year period, and only by breath hold diving. After setting up the ranger patrol, Miners developed both capacity and socialised its operation with the local community. The experience gained from developing and managing the first no take zone was invaluable in consolidating the agreement from the traditional tenure owners to create in 2010, the second no take zone around the Daram islands covering an additional 38,000 hectare area.