Morotai (2/4) – In commemoration of 70 years of diplomatic relations between the United States (US) and Indonesia, the maritime and fisheries sector is one of the areas of cooperation highlighted by the two countries. Various collaborative efforts continue to be made to improve the management of fisheries resources in a sustainable manner, including by declaring the reservation of three new Marine Conservation Areas (MPAs) in North Maluku, on Tuesday (2/4). In the declaration, the US Government was represented by the United States Ambassador to Indonesia, Joseph R. Donovan Jr. and the Indonesian Government represented by the Vice Governor of North Maluku, Ir. Muhammad Natsir Thoib, and Regent Morotai, Beny Laos.
The reservation of 226,000 hectares of MPAs will protect marine biodiversity, improve sustainable fisheries management, and promote marine tourism in North Maluku. Combined, the area of the new MPA is roughly the same as the entire island of Morotai.
Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti highly appreciates the cooperation between Indonesia and the U.S. that has been established for the past seven decades. According to her, the collaboration has helped Indonesia to improve the protection of marine biodiversity in Indonesian waters through a variety of projects and strategic support.
“The Reservation of these three new Marine Conservation Areas in North Maluku will certainly help us to achieve the goals of sustainable fisheries and food security. We hope that the two countries will continue to collaborate to achieve our mutually shared goals for sustainable fisheries and marine conservation in the future,” she said.
The U.S. Government through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) collaborates with Indonesia, including the private sector and government partners, to protect marine biodiversity and promote sustainable fisheries and their management across the country. Through the USAID Sustained Ecosystems Advanced (SEA) project, USAID supports the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) efforts to enhance fish production and food security in North Maluku, Maluku and West Papua.
“Indonesia’s marine resources are some of the rarest on earth. As we celebrate the 70th anniversary of relations with Indonesia, we reflect on the successes of our decades-long partnership, including with the Government of Indonesia, to protect biodiversity and enhance Indonesia’s management of its valuable marine resources. These joint efforts are crucial to sustainable livelihoods and for the prosperity of current and future generations,” said Ambassador Donovan.
Brahmantya Satyamurti Poerwadi, Director General of Marine Management of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries remarked that USAID supports Indonesia’s achievement towards 20 million ha of MPA by 2020.
“This support is proven with the establishment of 1 million ha of MPAs in North Maluku, Maluku and West Papua. The establishment of MPAs here will protect key marine habitats and species that directly increase fishery productivity and secure food security for local communities” he added
USAID Indonesia Mission Director Erin E. McKee explained, the support from the US Government was technically channeled through USAID SEA which supports the local governments to improve marine management in almost 8 million ha of waters in Maluku, North Maluku and West Papua provinces.
“With technical support from the U.S. Government through USAID’s SEA project, we partner with provincial governments to improve the management of nearly 8 million hectares of provincial waters. Through all of our shared efforts in the marine sector, USAID supports Indonesia’s vision for self-reliance in conserving marine ecosystems– such as by protecting vital coral reefs through updated marine spatial plans, equipping our partners with a critical tool for improved natural resource governance,” said USAID Indonesia Mission Director Erin E. McKee.
Meanwhile, the regional government welcomed USAID program in North Maluku because it could have an impact on improving the economy of the surrounding community.
“North Maluku’s fisheries provide livelihoods for more than 34,000 households and are harvested for local subsistence, domestic markets and international trade. Together with USAID, we put efforts to balance fisheries resources utilization with biodiversity protection” said Vice Governor of North Maluku, Muhammad Natsir Thoib
The Morotai Regent Benny Laos also expressed his gratitude to the United States government in supporting sustainable development programs in the Morotai Island including selecting Morotai Island as the location for celebrating the 70 years of bilateral relations and cooperation between Indonesia and the United States.