Communities Strengthened: MPA Management In Misool Islands, written and reported by: Nikka Gunadharma* and Rens Lewerissa**
From the 15th to 17th June, 2022, a team consisting of Raja Ampat’s Marine Park Authority, MER Foundation, and Konservasi Indonesia (KI)**** organized a socialization event for five villages located in the districts of South Misool and East Misool. The primary aim was increasing the involvement of local communities in managing the MPA, especially through its customary or adat system.
Observing and monitoring the utilization of marine natural resources activities within the Raja Ampat Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) Network pivots around the local communities’ active participation. Those activities are defined and legally limited to: “Listen, Oversee, and Report” (on activities which are allowed within the area).
Those three aspects form one essential phase of the MPA patrols, officially known as Jaga Laut, which monitors areas under the mandate of West Papua’s Marine and Fisheries Agency, an agency implemented by the Raja Ampat’s Marine Park Authority***.
Data generated from Jaga Laut patrols forms the basis of policy development in managing the areas MPAs. This data is integral in determining the area’s ecological status, and supports the phases of inquiry and investigation within the context of the law enforcement process.
Management of Misool Islands MPA are conducted by Jaga Laut’s MPA rangers, rangers from Misool Ekosistem Regenerasi or MER Foundation (previously known as Misool Foundation), and community patrol groups initiated by the government. All these initiatives require active participation from the local communities within the MPA.
The area’s management dynamic is certainly subject to changes, which requires responsive and adaptive skills. Although they essentially can not deviate from the official MPA’s zoning and management plan, changes come in various forms under one management system established and developed by the marine park’s authority and its partners.
On the 15th, the event opened in Fafanlap Village, and was attended by 20 members of the community, while 37 participants attended the event in Usaha Jaya Village in 16th of June.
All events were opened by Syafri, S.Pi., the Head of Raja Ampat Marine Park’s Authority, with his presentation of a program on the MPAs in Raja Ampat. Events continued with a presentation on fisheries’ permits and violations by West Papua Marine and Fisheries Agency’s Zulkifli Henan, S.Pi., M.Pi. Followed by Chief of Raja Ampat’s Maya Tribe Council, Kristian Thebu, conveying messages to encourage the communities to take part in protecting and managing the MPA.
A program on the function and main tasks of the Raja Ampat’s Air and Water Police Unit was conveyed by the Head of Operations, Second Inspector Freddy R. L. Betay. A presentation regarding the Navy’s main tasks and jurisdiction was presented by Second Liutenant Donny Sumarsono, the Commander of Waisai’s Navy Post.
The first two events, unfortunately, failed to reach an agreement related to the organizer’s suggestion that they initiate village based Sasi*****. This delay was due to the two villages, Fafanlap and Usaha Jaya, sharing a common customary/tenurial ownership. The two villages will meet to discuss and reach an agreement regarding Sasi. Raja Ampat’s Marine Park Authority, MER Foundation, and KI will support the planned meeting.
On the 17th of June, communities from villages of Dabatan and Yelly attended similar events held in Harapan Jaya Village. 41 participants attended the event and came to an agreement on several issues, which was signed by 9 representatives from the three villages. Those agreements were:
- To initiate Sasi as a part of the Misool Islands MPA management’s efforts
- To prohibit fishing vessels originating from outside the area to enter Misool Islands MPA
- To prohibit fishing devices and methods that are destructive
- To provide information on their fishing vessel and tools, which will be collected by Jaga Laut, assisted by MER Foundation and KI. That information is required for fisheries-related permits, and to better help the marine park authority in managing fisheries’ activities within the MPA.
Those points of agreement are expected to reduce the fisheries violations more significantly in Misool Islands MPA, especially those that would damage the ecosystem and eventually be harmful for the livelihood of the local communities.
The Sasi initiatives developed in the five villages visited during this event are also expected to strengthen the MPA management’s effectivity, especially for the southern Misool. The ultimate objective is for the benefit of the local communities.
* Nikka Gunadharma is Raja Ampat Communication & Outreach Coordinator for Konservasi Indonesia.
** Rens Lewerissa is Raja Ampat Communications & Outreach Field Senior Officer for Konservasi Indonesia.
*** RAJA AMPAT’S MARINE PARK AUTHORITY
The official name for Raja Ampat’s Marine Park Authority is “Badan Layanan Umum Daerah Unit Pelaksana Teknis Daerah (BLUD UPTD) Pengelolaan Kawasan Konservasi (KK) di Perairan Kepulauan Raja Ampat.” It is a technical unit under the West Papua’s Marine and Tourism Agency, which currently, and officially, manages six Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Raja Ampat: Area I – Ayau-Asia Islands MPA; Area II – Mayalibit Bay MPA; Area III – Dampier Strait MPA; Area IV – Misool Islands MPA; Area V – Kofiau-Boo Islands MPA, and; Area VI – Fam Islands MPA. Raja Ampat’s Marine Park Authority also provides technical support for West Waigeo Islands Marine Reserve (Wayag), the MPA that is managed by the central government. For further information, kindly visit www.kkprajampat.com (Bahasa Indonesia) atau www.rajaampatmarinepark.com (English).
**** KONSERVASI INDONESIA
Konservasi Indonesia (KI) is a national foundation that aims to support the sustainable development and protection of critical ecosystems in Indonesia. We believe in the importance of multi-stakeholder partnerships across sectors and jurisdictions to support the preservation of critical ecosystems. We design and deliver innovative nature-based solutions to climate change, using a sustainable landscape–seascape approach to create lasting impacts for people and nature.
KI established strategic partnership with Conservation International (CI), following the closure of its programmatic operations in Indonesia. From three decades of work in Indonesia, CI adapted its strategy by partnering with KI. Our partnership with CI aims to increase the visibility of successes of our work for the international audiences, and to gain access towards global network as well. Kindly visit www.konservasi-id.org for further information.
***** Sasi can be interpreted as customary prohibition in utilizing natural resources as part of the effort to preserve them and aims to preserve the quality and the population of that said natural resources. Sasi is appointed based on consensus and is usually prohibits the utilization of natural resources in a certain space – which usually determine based on the customary/tenurial ownership of a tribe/s or a clan/s – and within a period of time.