27 Jun Long-boat “Mameng” Aims to Help Monitor Marine Biodiversity in the Banda Sea

Since obtaining official recognition from the Maluku Provincial Government in 2019, the Neilaka Community Surveillance Group (Pokmaswas) of Rhun Island in the Banda Sea, has consistently demonstrated dedication to safeguarding the marine protected area (MPA) around the island from all possible threats. To support Pokmaswas Neilaka in conducting regular monitoring, CTC has supported the building of a long-boat named Mameng – a local name for the Napoleon Wrasse (Cheilinus undulates), a threatened reef fish species that inhabits the surrounding water of the Ay-Rhun MPA.

The construction of the boat Mameng has been ongoing since May 2021 and is planned to be completed this month. The shipbuilders have meticulously assembled the boat using high-quality wooden materials, brought from Ambon, at a traditional shipyard in Banda Neira Island, about a two-hour motorboat ride from Rhun Island. As of the end of June, the construction of the boat was approximately 95% complete, with only a few finishing jobs left, including the construction of seats, dive tank storage areas, and a roof.

When completed, Mameng will measure 12.5 meters long and 1.8 meters wide, and it will have a 40 horse power engine. It is anticipated to serve surveillance activities, as well as other marine conservation-related monitoring and surveys over the long-term.  According to La Ali, the head of the Naelaka Pokmaswas group of Rhun Island, apart from monitoring purposes, Mameng will also be optimized to transport the community waste collected from Rhun Island to the waste processing centers in Ay Island or Banda Neira Island. 

Mameng is the second boat that CTC has provided to local community groups in the Banda Islands through the support of the Margaret A. Cargill Philanthropies. In 2016, CTC handed over a similar boat to the conservation team in Ay Island. Until now, the long-boat named Lawere is still well-maintained and regularly used by members of the conservation team for routine monitoring of fishing, marine tourism, and marine transportation activities in the Ay-Rhun MPA. Since 2012, CTC has been supporting the government, local partners and communities in Banda Islands to design and develop a resilient MPA network across the beautiful, small archipelago. The Maluku Province Government issued a decree in 2016 for the establishment of the Ay-Rhun Islands MPA, covering 47,968.74 hectares. The MPA is equipped with zoning plans to conserve and manage the marine environment and fisheries whilst respecting traditional fishing grounds and practices.

Photos by: La Ode Junaidin/CTC

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