10 Jun Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries Endorses Sula Islands Marine Protected Area (MPA) Zoning Plan
On June 10, 2020, in Jakarta, the Minister of Marine and Fisheries Affairs has signed a map of the Sula islands MPA zoning plan as a form of approval for the establishment of the new Sula Islands MPA in North Maluku. The synchronization of the management with the approved zoning plan is the final stage before a ministerial decree is issued for the gazettement of the MPA.
This national-level endorsement came after the Governor of North Maluku, Abdul Gani Kasuba signed the official map of the Sula Islands MPA zoning plan on April 21, 2020. This caps several years of multi-stakeholder consultations to ensure consensus and local support for the MPA establishment. The zoning map signed by the governor was then forwarded to the MMAF as the basis for the establishment of the new MPA.
Before the governor signed the documents, several processes passed, such as (1) obtaining approval from the North Maluku Technical Working Group (TWG) team regarding management and zoning plans documents, (2) finalizing the management and zoning plan documents (RPZ), (3) consultation and review of the zoning plan map with MMAF and partners, and finally (5) finalization of the zoning plan map from the MMAF.
The Sula Islands MPA consists of three inhabited islands and 21 mostly uninhabited, and unexplored, islands, and seas that are home to some of the richest marine biodiversity in eastern Indonesia. The majority of communities in the Sula Islands rely heavily on marine resources for their livelihoods, with the waters surrounding the islands identified as high-value fishing grounds for pelagic fish and demersal fish such as tuna, skipjack, small mackerel and fusiliers found in large numbers. This MPA will contain a zoning system that supports sustainable fisheries and marine tourism and protects threatened marine species and ecosystems such as the high population of sea turtles nesting and living in the area.
CTC has been assisting in the establishment process of a new MPA in the Sula islands since 2017 as part of the USAID SEA Project. Several monitoring and baseline survey activities to collect basic biophysical and social-economic data, training and meetings with focus group discussions have been carried out in order to increase the knowledge of prospective managers and communities in the conservation area. In addition, in every activity, both prospective managers and the local community are always involved as presenters or local facilitators to provide experience in carrying out activities. We consulted over 2,000 people from village to national level for the Sula MPA establishment.
One of the activities carried out by CTC is to obtain support and commitment from the provincial government to the village government by conducting a public consultation on the discussion of zoning plans. CTC has carried out public consultations at the district level and village level with the aim of gaining support and approval regarding the management and zoning plans in the Sula Islands MPA. A total of 1,565 people (239 female, 1326 male) from 35 villages who participated in public consultations at the village level have provided their support by signing the minutes of the formation of zoning plans.