06 Jul New Marine Protected Areas in Maluku Established

Good news has arrived for marine conservation in Indonesia. The Indonesian Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) has officially designated four new marine protected areas (MPAs) in Maluku Province to be fully established by the end of June 2021. CTC is proud to significantly contribute in the establishment of three out of those four new MPAs.

The Ministerial Decrees that declared the new protected zones were signed on June 21, 2021 and included MPAs supported by CTC such as the Ay-Rhun Islands, Lease Islands, and Buano Islands. Since 2012, CTC has assisted local communities in the Ay-Rhun Islands in the establishment of this MPA. CTC has also supported the establishment of the Lease and Buano Islands MPA under the USAID Sustainable Ecosystem Advanced (SEA) Project. Even though the SEA project has concluded, CTC is still committed to work together with the Provincial Government of Maluku and related stakeholders to ensure that these newly declared MPAs will be managed effectively.

The Ay-Rhun Islands MPA covers an area of 61,178.53 hectares, situated between two small islands. The MPA incorporates a zoning system to support sustainable fisheries and growth in marine tourism, while protecting endangered marine species like the Napoleon Wrasse fish, and conserving precious marine and coastal ecosystems. The area is safeguarded and monitored by two community surveillance groups (Pokmaswas), namely Naelaka in Rhun Island and Lawere in Ay Island.

The Lease Islands MPA covers 67,484.19 hectares of three main islands, namely the Haruku, Saparua and Nusa Laut. It has intact marine ecosystems including coral reefs, seagrass and mangroves, which support abundant marine life, even the endangered dugong. The MPA will be supported by new policies and programs that support marine conservation and supporting local communities to move away from destructive fishing practices and reduce pressure on marine ecosystems.

The Buano Islands MPA covers an area of 31,886.86 hectares and also applies a zoning system to support sustainable fisheries, marine tourism and protection of endangered marine species. CTC has supported the development of the MPA through building up the MPA management plan and conducting training and environmental education sessions for locals, as well as increasing the capacity of local government officers to manage the area.

This year, CTC, together with the Maluku Provincial Government, will conduct a series of public meetings to create awareness of the purpose and rules of the MPA at the provincial and village levels. CTC will also support the production of information and communication materials that can be used by the public, such as bulletin boards and leaflets, to raise local awareness of marine conservation.

Photo by Alex Del Olmo

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