21 Jul Collaborative Resource Use Monitoring in the Lease Islands MPA

CTC recently conducted a comprehensive Resource Use Monitoring (RUM) survey in the Lease Islands Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Maluku Province. This routine survey involved collaboration with multiple governmental agencies and local communities, aiming to strengthen law enforcement, promote the adoption of sustainable practices, and discourage harmful activities within the local small-scale fishermen, private sectors, and tourism operators.

On May 25, 2023, a team of ten members embarked on a boat journey to survey the northern waters of Haruku and Saparua Islands, which are part of the MPA. Unfortunately, they couldn’t visit Nusalaut Island due to severe weather and high waves. During the navigation, the team interviewed resource users, gathering valuable data. This collaborative effort involved CTC, the Fisheries Monitoring Division of Island Cluster VII from the Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MAF) Agency of Maluku Province, the local community surveillance group (Pokmaswas) of Duurstede from Saparua Village, and the customary institution (kewang) of Porto Village. The collected data serves as important information to support the effective management of the MPA.

In order to streamline the data collection process, the team utilized personal cellular phones equipped with the “Kobocollect” application as a replacement for traditional paper data forms. The application proved to be efficient, working well both online and offline, enabling the team to enter and save data seamlessly. This technological approach presented an opportunity to enhance the capacity of Lease Islands MPA management personnel in effectively gathering crucial data.

CTC MPA Learning Site Manager, Purwanto, recommended a brief training session on the usage of the “Kobocollect” application for the Lease Islands MPA managers, personnel, and other monitoring team members. He suggested, “the training can be conducted alongside outreach and the dissemination of information about the Lease Islands zoning system to the community and fishermen.”

A total of 12 resource users engaged in traditional fishing activities were identified during the survey and no violations of sustainable fishing practices were observed in the Lease Islands MPA. This positive compliance rate highlights the success of community outreach efforts regarding marine conservation and MPA zoning systems by the CTC team in Ambon, while also emphasizing the significant impacts of responsible marine resource utilization.

In general, the RUM activity categorized resource utilization into two types: mobile and fixed. Mobile utilization primarily involved small-scale fishermen, who use bottom handlines as their main fishing gears, and offshore fish traders who rely on traditional fishery resources for their livelihoods. On the other hand, fixed utilization encompassed advanced and permanent infrastructure such as fish aggregating devices (FADs, locally known as rumpon), mooring buoys for tourism boats, and ports for interisland public transportation.

The activity faced a significant challenge due to weather, which was initially calm but later turned into strong winds and large waves. This unfavourable weather made it difficult for the team to visit all the areas in the Lease Islands MPA, such as Molana and Nusalaut Islands. We also suspected that the weather conditions contributed to the limited number of fishers and other users found during the monitoring. Nevertheless, we learned to consider weather forecast prior to any activities.

Regular RUM activities empower local stakeholders to actively monitor resource utilization, identify potential issues, and implement proactive measures to promote sustainability in the Lease Islands MPA. Moving forward, consistent monitoring and collaboration will be crucial in preserving and protecting this valuable marine ecosystem for future generations. Through ongoing dedication of CTC and other local partners, the marine resources of Lease Islands will flourish, fostering a sustainable and vibrant environment for all.

Writers: Purwanto, Gerald Istia, Yoga Putra
Photos: Ii Tarmidji/CTC

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