USAID SEA through implementing partner Marine Change has released a series of infographics to promote responsible visitor behavior in the new Rao Island-Cape Dehegila Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Morotai, North Maluku. The infographics were developed as a follow-up to a carrying capacity assessment conducted by the Project in October 2019, which provided baseline information on dive sites in Morotai and an estimate of the maximum number of divers that each site could accommodate.
The assessment report and newly developed infographics describe best practices in MPA management, particularly those that aim to address any negative impacts that tourism in the area might have on the environment. As well as promoting sustainable tourism practices, the infographics are designed to promote Morotai’s dive sites to a wider audience, help dive and tour operators provide accurate information on what guests can expect when visiting, and educate tourists, private operators, communities and government on the importance of protecting the sites.
The Governor of North Maluku, Abdul Gani Kasuba, signed on 21 April key documents required for ministerial designation of six USAID SEA-supported marine protected areas (MPAs) in the province. The documents included maps of the Rao-Dehegila (Morotai), Mare and Sula MPAs, and the management and zoning plans for Makian-Moti, Guraici and Widi MPAs. The latter set of documents was submitted to the North Maluku Marine and Fisheries Office only the day before, on 20 April, following endorsement by the North Maluku MPA Working Group. By 22 April, all documents had been forwarded by USAID SEA partner Wildlife Conservation Society to the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries for the final designation decision. The six MPAs together cover a total of 677,548 ha.
USAID SEA’s West Papua Regional Coordinator was one of six speakers at last month’s ‘Caring for the Earth Amid the Covid-19 Outbreak’ Webinar organized by the Indonesian Association of Marine Science Scholars (ISKINDO) to commemorate Earth Day 2020. The event was held on 22 April and attracted around 51 participants. The USAID SEA presentation highlighted the Project’s objectives and accomplishments, and its response to implementation challenges in the midst of a global pandemic. The presentation was well-received as USAID SEA’s work to improve marine conservation and sustainable fisheries management was a good match to the interests of the audience of marine science enthusiasts.
In response to it, the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries representative encouraged the audience to adopt and implement lessons learned from USAID SEA’s work in other areas in Indonesia, and an NGO activist from Southeast Sulawesi requested copies of the newly released USAID SEA publications ‘A Guide, Framework and Example’ and ‘Biophysical Criteria’ for designing MPAs and MPA networks in Indonesia. The webinar was made publicly available on Youtube and the online media channel Maritime News, allowing a wider audience to engage with the USAID SEA presentation and other webinar content.
Following a request from the Postgraduate Program Director of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries College (STP), USAID SEA has initiated an online lecture series on ‘stock assessment for fisheries in data-limited situations.’ The series, delivered by the USAID SEA Senior Fisheries Advisor, is part of USAID SEA’s ongoing inputs to capacity building in Indonesia towards the development of viable fisheries management plans and strategies. In Indonesia, the availability of data for stock assessment is one of the main obstacles to improving fisheries management, and addressing it requires knowledge and skills in data-limited fisheries assessment.
The first lecture, conducted on 28 April and attended by six Masters students and two permanent lecturers at STP, discussed stock assessment concepts and theories, and fish stock dynamics. The second, held on 5 May, was a practical session on using and analyzing data, designed to build participants’ basic understanding and skills in data analysis, including analyzing equilibrium biomass dynamic models (BDM). The third lecture, focusing on software analysis of non-equilibrium BDM.
Florence Tanikwele, from Seram Island in Maluku, has undoubtedly earned her badge – or in this case, orange scarf – as a SEA Champion. Florence, also known as Mama Pola, was a self-described “ordinary mother” until she was trained and engaged as a fish data collector by the Indonesia Locally Managed Marine Areas (ILMMA) Foundation and received her orange scarf as one of 10 SEA Champions recruited by ILMMA in her village of Nikulukan. SEA Champions are volunteers who help USAID SEA to advocate behavior change towards improving marine resource protection and sustainable fisheries management.
Today, Mama Pola is a skilled marine conservation campaigner and one of ILMMA’s best data collectors, with a reputation as a diligent worker who reads and understands the data she gets from fishers and fish collectors.
Every three months, she collects catch-and-effort data, traveling for 14 consecutive days from fish landing site to fish landing site, sometimes at long distances. While doing so, she also does her bit to create a sustainable fishing mindset in all those she meets, using the data she gathers to reinforce her message about the importance of protecting juvenile fish from fishing, or about the need to protect threatened species like sea turtles. She teaches by example, picking up trash to promote beach cleanliness and recruit volunteers for beach cleanups and anti-littering campaigns.
From data collector to one of USAID SEA champions she is also assisting the Nikulukan village to formulate a village regulation by serving as an internal reviewer. She has a heart for preventing sea turtle hunting and makes sure that this point is well observed in the regulation. This female sea champion not only enjoys her capacity building from ILMMA, but also exercises her campaign skills, and is an active participant in the local policy formulation for conservation.
Having completed the pilot phase of its work to develop a logbook system for small-scale fisheries in Indonesia, USAID SEA is now looking to apply lessons from its pilot sites in North Maluku to encourage provincial government support and scale the system’s implementation to other areas. Catch monitoring through logbook systems is an important element of fisheries management, providing fisheries managers with a means to track fishing effort and exploitation rate, and to inform adaptive strategies and management processes.
Currently, however, small-scale fishers, the dominant fish harvesters in Indonesia, are not required to comply with logbook reporting requirements, resulting in a dearth of catch-and-effort data on which to base small-scale fisheries management plans and actions. To address this, USAID SEA is working with the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries to develop a logbook system designed specifically for use by small-scale fishers.
The system was piloted in two villages in Tidore, North Maluku, and the results were used to recommend strategies and resource needs for its scaling up and future sustainability. To ensure an institutionally driven and integrated system, USAID SEA helped to identify local government tasks to be shared between provincial and district levels, and to establish data flow from fishers to a provincial database.
Since March this year, two extension officers and one staff at the Marine and Fisheries Office in Tidore City have been implementing the system by involving fishers from the two villages, and carrying out awareness building, data verification, and district-level data management. In addition, the extension officers engage with the fishers’ wives who handle the marketing of their husbands’ catch and thus have keen insights into the local fisheries.
The involvement of fishers, fisheries staff and extension officers not only helps to increase stakeholder acceptance of the importance of catch reporting, but also builds local support and capacity for the implementation of the logbook system.