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Collaborative Forum of the Werur Traditional Law Community to Improve the Text of the Byak Karon Traditional Regulations in Southwest Papua

Byak Karon
Photo caption Participants in the technical consultation on the Byak Karon customary regulation text, 19 April 2024. © Irwanto/YKAN

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To develop and strengthen customary area institutions, the Werur Customary Law Community (MHA), Bikar District, Tambrauw Regency, Southwest Papua, held a technical consultation regarding the refinement of the text of the Byak Karon customary regulations, especially regarding Community-Based Fisheries Management (PPBM). This activity, supported by the Nusantara Nature Conservation Foundation (YKAN), will be held in Sorong, Southwest Papua, 19-20 April 2024.

The Byak Karon tribe, a community from MHA Werur, has been duly recognized and protected by the government through Tambrauw Regent Regulation No. 12/2019. This regulation acknowledges and respects the Werur Traditional Law Community, Bikar District, in the Management of Coastal and Marine Resources Based on Customary Law in Tambrauw Regency. The regulation is further bolstered by West Papua Province Regional Regulation no. 3/2022, which accommodates the Werur MHA-based marine area management area into the current use of space, reinforcing the tribe's status and importance.

Pengelola MHA Werur, Kabupaten Tambrauw, Papua Barat Daya.
Photo Caption Manager of MHA Werur, Tambrauw Regency, Southwest Papua. © Nugroho Arif Prabowo/YKAN

"A strategic formulation and collaborative efforts are needed to develop and strengthen customary rules post-determination of the Werur MHA. "So, this consultation involves the components of the three Tungku, namely the Traditional Council, Village Government, and Religious Administrators in the Werur MHA area, to obtain input and suggestions regarding improving the text of the Byak Karon traditional regulations," said Junus Rumansara, chairman of the Byak Karon Tribal Traditional Council.

Head of the Werur MHA Management Unit, Yan Welem Yesnat, said that technical consultations related to improving the text of customary regulations had been carried out more than once. According to him, this series of technical consultations is expected to enhance the text of the Byak Karon traditional regulations from the aspects of institutional governance, technical implementation of rules, implementation of sanctions, customary justice, as well as anticipating community and coastal vulnerability due to the impacts of climate change.

This forum also includes discussions regarding the timeline and scenarios for the process of legalizing customary regulatory texts for the management of MHA Werur. We hope that the preparation of these customary regulations can become a reference for us to implement MHA area management so that it can be carried out independently. Importantly, this management will be fortified by a robust strategic management plan, as well as a comprehensive set of standard technical operational procedures. These measures are designed to ensure the wise utilization of marine resource potential for the livelihood of the surrounding community, providing a sense of reassurance about the future.

Customary regulations for conservation efforts

MHA have long lived in harmony with nature through all the customary rules that apply to them, including MHA Werur, who live in the coastal region of Southwest Papua.

Photo Caption Presentation session at the technical consultation event for the Byak Karon traditional regulations text, 19 April 2024. © Irwanto/YKAN

YKAN in the Bird's Head Seascape (BLKB), Southwest Papua, is implementing a global marine biodiversity protection program through the establishment and integration of conservation areas, small-scale fisheries management, and improving community livelihoods.

YKAN's Bird's Head Seascape Senior Manager Lukas Rumetna explained that one of the main activities carried out by YKAN included assistance in community-based management of marine and fisheries resources through institutional strengthening of traditional councils and their management units. According to him, these assistance efforts align with MHA's needs to realize collaborative and independent management accommodated in customary regulatory texts.

Apart from that, this customary regulation strengthens fisheries resource utilization practices through the implementation of a zoning system, including protected zones (fish savings areas), limited-use zones (maritime tourism areas and customary fisheries areas), and sasi zones ( Sasisen area), where supervision is supported by the Farus Sem Community Monitoring Group (Pokmaswas), which is the local Manwaren (Traditional Police).

Photo Caption Participants in the technical consultation on the Byak Karon customary regulation text, 19 April 2024. © Irwanto/YKAN

"Customary regulations for MHA are expected to strengthen independent management efforts by MHA Werur, strengthen MHA management institutions, protect important habitats for fisheries and marine resources, strengthen territorial rights-based management of marine conservation areas, improve community livelihoods, and become a medium for carrying out functions monitoring, evaluation, and learning," concluded Lukas.

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