To accelerate the establishment of the northern part of Misool waters as a conservation area, Dominggus Mandacan, Governor of West Papua, has created a Working Group (Kelompok Kerja or Pokja) for the Arrangement of Zonation Plan Document of a Conservation Area Candidate in Area VII Raja Ampat Island Waters – Northern Part of Misool Waters. This Working Group consists of governments, adat (customs) institutions, and community groups. The Decree of West Papua Governor No. 523/133/7/2021 states the duties and functions of this Working Group’s members, including arranging zonation, conducting public consultations, and evaluating the establishment of the conservation area.
“With regards to the candidacy process for the northern part of Misool waters as a conservation area, I would like to thank and express my gratitude for supports and cooperation from all parties so far. We hope that synergy can be built between all elements of the community and stakeholders in Raja Ampat and West Papua, so an integrated marine and coastal governance can be created to support a sustainable conservation area management,” explained Jacobis Ayomi, Head of West Papua Marine Affairs and Fisheries Agency and Head of the Working Group.
Raja Ampat waters are conservation areas in West Papua Province with the world's highest biodiversity. To support a sustainable utilization, direction and arrangement in the Management and Zonation Plan (Rencana Pengelolaan dan Zonasi or RPZ) are necessary, as mandated in the laws and regulations. Zonations in Raja Ampat Islands Marine Conservation Area have been applied based on the Decree of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries No. 13/2021. These 1,343,943 hectares were divided into six managed areas: Ayau Asia Island Area I, Mayalibit Bay Area II, Dampier Strait Area III, Misool Archipelagic Waters Area IV, Koufiau-Boo Archipelagic Waters Area V, and Fam Islands Area VI.
However, there are still environmentally threatened waters with high biodiversity and important value to the locals, yet still not protected legally. To prevent further damage and ensure that its utilization can benefit locals, the Government of West Papua Province committed to encouraging the development of conservation areas, such as the northern part of Misool, an area of less than 308,692 hectares in Raja Ampat Regency. This area would be proposed to be established as Area VII of Conservation Areas in Raja Ampat Waters, West Papua Province.
The proposal for the northern part of Misool waters to be a conservation area began with an adat (customs) declaration in 2018. The northern part of Misool is very important to be made as a conservation area because, aside from having high biodiversity, this area is also a vital habitat for dugong. The adat (customs) supported by the community’s active role is one of the key factors for conservation success in Raja Ampat.
The adat (customs) integration in conservation is also one of the interests of Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) as one of the development partners of the Government of West Paua and members of the Working Group (Pokja). “Conservations in Raja Ampat are supported by the socio-cultural and traditional system manifested as local wisdom. One of them is sasi, a sustainable natural resources utilization practice that has been inherited over generations. In the context of Raja Ampat, this approach is very important because the role of adat is very massive in protecting natural resources. That is why, since the beginning, we always support the establishment of the northern part of Misool waters as a conservation area,” explained Lukas Rumetna, YKAN Bird’s Head Seascape Manager.
Lukas added that at present, YKAN, with supports from the Blue Action Fund, is actively encouraging the development of conservation areas in several locations in West Papua Province, including the northern part of Misool. These efforts are aligned with the government program in achieving the target of 30 million hectares of conservation areas in 2030 or 10% of Indonesia's total area of waters.
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.