The USAID Sustainable Ecosystems Advanced (USAID SEA) Project is a five-year project (2016-2021) that aims to support Indonesian government in improving their marine and fisheries management and conservation efforts at local, regency, province and national levels, particularly at the Fisheries Management Area (FMA) – 715 (Also knowns as Wilayah Pengelolaan Perikanan (WPP) – 715). Sawai Bay and its surrounding waters, located in Central Maluku regency, is one of the potential areas that is proposed by the Indonesian government and USAID SEA Project to be one of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the region. It aims to support fisheries productivity, food safety, and sustainable livelihood of people in the surrounding area through conservation efforts of important habitat and species protection within the Sawai Bay area.
Based on the Ministerial Decree Number. 2 of 2009, a baseline study is an important step in initiating an MPA establishment. It includes socio-cultural, economic and ecological study that will assist the Indonesian government to plan initial processes of MPA establishment. In December 2016, USAID SEA Project team of WWF–Indonesia undertook rapid assessment in 10 villages around Sawai Bay to conduct the socio-cultural and economic study of the potential MPA. However, an ecological and fisheries study is still needed to complete the baseline study as an initial process of the MPA establishment. This study is expected to assist the Indonesian government to plan the MPA establishment in the potential area.