1. Community-Based Surveillance Steps Up in North Maluku Following Training
With training from USAID SEA implementing and government partners, a newly inducted community-based surveillance group (Pokmaswas) in North Maluku is ably carrying out their duties to support and promote fisheries management and law enforcement in their destructive fishing-prone village. The Pokmaswas of Talimau Village in South Halmahera District was inaugurated early this year by decree of the Head of the Provincial Marine and Fisheries Office (DKP-North Maluku) dated 13 January 2020 (Decree No. 523/406/DKP).
Shortly thereafter, on 17-19 February, USAID SEA implementing partner Wildlife Conservation Society, along with government counterparts DKP-North Maluku and the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, provided the group with training to help them organize for their community surveillance duties and effectively coordinate with the village government and law enforcement authorities. The group all actively took part in the training activities, and this has translated to strong on-field performance and results. The Head of Talimau Village, himself a Sea Champion who received training from USAID SEA in October 2019, has expressed strong support for the group.
He encouraged them to work together to socialize and promote community compliance in managing and utilizing marine and fisheries resources. He also rallied them to establish effective communication procedures with the village government, DKP-North Maluku, Water Police (Polair), and fisheries judiciary through a WhatsApp Group (WG), which has led to information sharing on filling out logbooks and reporting fisheries violations. On 17 March, the group used the WG tool to report fishers they caught assembling fish bombs. Through the WG, the Polair officer and DKP-North Maluku directed the group to ensure they did not engage in vigilantism and instead focused on gathering reliable and relevant evidence to bring the case to court. At the same time, the South Halmahera Polair immediately responded to intercept and arrest the suspected fish bombers. Such proactive and collaborative initiative between the Pokmaswas, the village government, and law enforcement officials in the implementation of community-based surveillance is being put forward for replication in other regions in North Maluku.