13 Nov Sasi Opening Ceremony in Banda Islands
On 13 November 2018, the local community in Ay Island held a traditional “Sasi” opening ceremony. The festivities were initiated by members of the Sairun Village in collaboration with the CTC and local government officials in Maluku Province.
During the last four years, the villagers have been implementing “Sasi” to prevent community members from catching valuable marine species and allow their population to recover. “Sasi” covers popular seafood such as Lobster (Nephropidae), sea cucumbers (Holothuroidea) and shells such as Lola shell (Trochus niloticus) and Batu Laga shell (Turbo marmoratus).
When the “Sasi” is opened, local fishers are allowed to catch the above animals for two weeks using designated fishing gear and size restrictions. The implementation is closely monitored by village elders and violations will be subject to penalties by the community.
This year’s “Sasi” opening ceremony was graced by the Governor of Maluku Province and coincided with other local rituals such as “Buka Puang” which symbolizes sincere greetings and welcome. The community members also held “Cakalele” dancing and “Belang” boat parade in honor of their guest.
“Sasi” plays an important role in marine conservation in the marine protected area (MPA) of Ay-Rhun Island in Banda because it allows the endangered marine species to grow and reproduce while bringing economic benefits for the community members as they can sell good quality products at a higher price without over exploiting their local resources.