Preparing the northern Misool waters as a conservation area, the local government and stakeholders in Raja Ampat Regency developed community-based monitoring. These efforts fight destructive fishing activities and implement effective water area management, especially for potential conservation areas in northern Misool waters.
These efforts have shown results. On January 14, 2023, a joint patrol team consisting of the Misool Police, Misool Military Command, and Mate Jaklou's Monitoring Community Group (Pokmaswas)—which consists of residents of North Misool and East Misool Districts—arrested a group of destructive fishing actors who were carrying out bombings in Northern Misool waters.
At the time of arrest, in the boat of the perpetrators of the bombing, evidence was found in the form of fish bombs and fish from the bombing weighing about 1 ton. Furthermore, the patrol team took the perpetrators along with evidence to the Misool Police for further examination.
"We have destroyed some of the fish evidence because it has decomposed. However, we have set aside some of it to be taken to the forensic laboratory in Jayapura to investigate evidence," explained the Head of the Misool Police, Iptu Suhardi.
"This actor is the most wanted by the Raja Ampat Conservation Area Management Organization Unit (SUOP) BLUD Sea Guard team. We also support the further handling process and ensure that the post-investigation process goes well," explained the Head of BLUD SUOP, Raja Ampat Syafri.
Maintaining the preservation of northern Misool
The northern Misool waters are ecologically important because they contain high marine biodiversity, including essential habitats for dugongs, turtles, whales, and fisheries with significant economic value. Because of the importance of this area, since 2018, indigenous peoples in northern Misool have declared this area an Indigenous Waters Area.
Currently, through the support of various parties, including the Provincial Government of West Papua, the northern Misool waters are in the process of being proposed to be designated as a Marine Protected Area by the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia with an area of 308,692 hectares. The area zoning plan, which consists of the core zone, limited-use zone, and other zones, has been mutually agreed upon between the community and the government.
"Pokmaswas are important in preserving the marine and fighting utilization activities that are not environmentally friendly, including in northern Misool. For this reason, through the Blue Action Fund Program, we support the strengthening of Pokmaswas through a series of activities such as training on basic conservation, Pokmaswas, an accurate and fast reporting system, as well as support for monitoring facilities and infrastructure in the form of patrol posts, logistics, fuel, binoculars, life jackets. , GPS, and handy talky communication tools. We are also with the Nazaret Papua Foundation assisting in monitoring water areas," concluded Lukas Rumetna, YKAN's Bird's Head Seascape Senior 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.