The customary leaders and local communities of Misool today reaffirm their support for marine conservation by declaring the zoning system of the Southeast Misool Marine Protected Area (MPA) through the traditional ceremony Timai, in Yellu Village, South Misool Sub-District on Misool Island, Raja Ampat (28/11).
The Head of the Raja Ampat Regency, Drs. Marcus Wanma, in his speech said “the traditional declaration of the Southeast Misool MPA zoning is a huge mandate given by the people to the Raja Ampat government, to ensure that the marine resources in Misool are sustainably managed.”
“I am proud that we have such a high commitment to protect the marine resources that is so vital to our way of life, these resources will support food security and the wellbeing of our people,” emphasized Marcus Wanma.
The Southeast Misool MPA covers an area of 366,000 hectares, and consists of three utilization zones: core or no-take zone; limited use zone and other uses zone. The zoning system was developed over a 4-year thorough process , involving gathering information on the condition of the reefs and fish populations, marine resource use pattern by the local communities, traditional natural resources management practices, stakeholder consultations, scientific assessments, and many more.
The Director of The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Indonesia Marine Program, Abdul Halim, said that TNC is honored to be supporting and a part of such a great vision and commitment by the government and people of Raja Ampat in managing their marine resources for today and tomorrow’s generation. “The zoning system developed collaboratively with the key stakeholders in Misool combines modern conservation science and traditional management practices is not commonly found in Indonesia.”
The Timai ceremony is to pay respect to and offer prayers to our ancestors. The ceremony is led by customary leaders who will shower offerings – made up of beetle nuts, tobacco and chicken – into the ocean, along with prayers for the protection of our oceans and continued abundance of the marine resources for people.
After the ceremony, Bupati Wanma confirmed three Community Patrol Groups and officially opened three patrol posts on Jaam Island in South Misool Sub-District, on Gamfi in East Misool sub-District, and Waaf in West Misool. The patrol post on Waaf Island is built with funds from the Raja Ampat tourism entrance fee. A dinghy boat is also presented for use by the community patrol group. Community patrolling is initiated by local community members and supported by the Raja Ampat government and Police, to safeguard the MPA from overfishing, destructive fishing practices and harvesting of protected species.
The Raja Ampat Islands are located on the northeastern part of West Papua Province, at the heart of the Coral Triangle – an area known as the world’s center of marine biodiversity. Ecological assessments conducted by TNC and Conservation International (CI) show that Raja Ampat is home to 75% of the world’s coral species and 1437 species of reef fishes.
In 2006, the Raja Ampat regency government and people, in collaboration with TNC and CI, declared a marine protected area (MPA) network, making it the first network at the regency level. MPAs are globally acknowledged as an effective tool to manage sustainable fisheries and protect marine biodiversity, ensuring the livelihoods of local communities. At present, there are seven MPAs in the network, covering an area of more than 1 million hectares.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.