YKAN and partners support the "Munara Beba Byak Karon Traditional Festival" in Werur Raya, Tambrauw Regency, Southwest Papua, on March 22-25, 2023, in the context of strengthening the Biak Karon Customary Law Community (MHA). This activity displayed a variety of cultural, culinary, handicraft, and local specialties. It ended with the closing ceremony of the sasi. This festival is a moment to revive the various customs of the Biak Karon people, forgotten for generations.
Strengthening MHA by combining traditional and modern knowledge is key to conserving biodiversity and generating economic benefits for local communities.
"Utilizing nature wisely, that's what our ancestors taught us. Through this festival and the return of the sasi tradition, it is an effort for us to always take care of nature for today and in the future," said the Chairman of the Biak Karon Tribal Council, Yunus Rumansara.
Since 2016, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) has facilitated the recognition and protection of 27 MHA as stipulated in 20 Regent/Mayor Regulations, one of which is MHA Biak Karon in Werur Raya through Tambrauw Regent Regulation Number 12 of 2019 concerning Recognition and Protection The Werur Customary Law Community in the Bikar District in the Management of Coastal and Marine Resources Based on Customary Law in Tambrauw Regency.
"Through a good management framework, the MHA Management area in Werur Raya can provide greater economic and ecological benefits in the sustainability of natural resources. The development of MHA-managed areas also needs to be built on other potential aspects such as marine tourism, maritime culture, cultivation, restoration, etc. By exploiting this potential, optimal and independent management can be realized as a source of funding for MHA management itself," said Bird's Head Seascape Senior Manager YKAN, Lukas Rumetna.
Conservation in tradition
The Munara Beba Byak Karon Traditional Festival presents competitions rooted in the indigenous Biak culture – an immigrant tribe in the Tambrauw area who have assimilated with the Abun tribe, the original inhabitants of Tambrauw. Among them are traditional rowing competitions, fishing, Yospan dance, and traditional Biak Karon songs. The festival was also closed by strengthening the commitment of the Biak Karon residents to preserve the sea through the sasisen closing ceremony (sasi). The sasi is carried out to protect the biota around it, namely shrimp, sea cucumbers, bats, turtles, corals, bia matabulan, and lola.
"For the first time, all the Biak Karon keret (marga) got together and helped each other to support this activity. With the support of YKAN and partners, the sasi activity, which the Biak Karon community has long abandoned, is being brought back to preserve the wealth of marine life in Tambrauw," added Hans Mambrasar, a religious figure from the Biak Karon community.
On this occasion, YKAN also handed over a fast boat to the people of Biak Karon to support monitoring activities in MHA waters. The ship, which the Farus Sem Monitoring Community Group manages, is a way to protect MHA waters from fishing practices that are not environmentally friendly and carry out over-fishing.
"The state recognizes and respects the unity of MHA and their traditional rights as long as they are still alive and under the development of society and the principles of the Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia, regulated in law. To support the sustainable management of marine and fishery resources for MHA, management planning, as well as supervision and control is needed, the implementation of which is carried out by the MHA management agency," concluded the Head of the Southwest Papua Province Food, Agriculture, Fisheries and Maritime Security Office Absalom Solossa.
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.