The marine area in Bird’s Head Seascape, West Papua Province, is one of the marine areas with the highest biodiversity in the world. Therefore, integrated coastal resources management that prioritizes marine and fisheries resources conservation is necessary so the local community and stakeholders would receive long-term benefits. This topic was the central discussion in the Blue Action Fund Program Proposal Steering Committee and Selection Committee Coordination Meeting on February 15 – 17, 2022, held by Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) in Sorong City.
West Papua Province has 106,598.9 km2 of marine areas with 12,455 km of coastline, the home of more than 1,700 coral fish and 600 hard coral species, as well as 482,029 hectares of mangrove ecosystems. “These renewable living resources we certainly need to protect and conserve. In respect to that, the development direction in West Papua Province prioritizes conservation, as stated in the Special Regional Regulation No. 10 Year 2019 about Sustainable Development in West Papua Province. The development not only focuses on its physical aspect but also pays attention to the living environment sustainability and granting access rights to the locals in utilizing natural resources sustainably,” explained Jacobis Ayomi, Head of West Papua Province Marine Affairs and Fisheries Office.
Marine conservation areas development
The provincial government, through the Regional Regulation No. 13 Year 2019 about Zoning Plan for Coastals and Small Islands 2019 – 2039 (Rencana Zonasi Wilayah Pesisir dan Pulau-Pulau Kecil Tahun 2019-2039), allocated 4.1 million hectares or 39.9% of marine area in West Papua as Marine, Coastal, and Small Islands Conservation Areas. These total areas contribute up to 13.8% to the national target, including the development of areas managed by adat (indigenous) law community spread across the coastal regencies in West Papua Province.
To materialize those allocations, West Papua Provincial Government is committed to encouraging the development of marine conservation areas in the northern part of Misool, Raja Ampat Regencies, which covers an area of 308,692 hectares, Maksegara, which crosses over Sorong Regency, and Tambrauw Regency, which covers an area of 135,302 hectares. Furthermore, West Papua Provincial Government is also committed to facilitating adat (customs) law communities in developing and managing their adat regions sustainably. “To accelerate and support those efforts, YKAN and partners consisting of the University of Papua, Maya Tribal Adat (Customs) Council, and Nazaret Foundation, West Papua, with financial supports from the Blue Action Fund, have been implementing a set of programs since 2020 in Raja Ampat Regency, Sorong Regency, and Tambrauw Regency. This set of programs consists of three main programs: establishing and managing conservation areas combined with small-scale fisheries management, improving the capacity of conservation area managers, small-scale fisheries, and adat (customs) law communities, and developing community livelihoods. These efforts are aligned with the government program in reaching the target of 30 million ha of conservation areas by 2030 or 10% of total Indonesia’s marine areas,” said Lukas Rumetna, YKAN Bird’s Head Seascape Manager.
Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) is a scientific-based non-profit organization that has been present in Indonesia since 2014. With the mission of protecting lands and waters as life support systems, we provide innovative solutions to realize the harmony of nature and humans through effective natural resource management, prioritizing a non-confrontational approach, and building a network of partnerships with all stakeholders for a sustainable Indonesia. For more information, visit ykan.or.id.