Ternate (18/11)- Since its proposal as a Marine Protected Area (MPA) in 2012, little has changed in Mare Island located in remote Tidore in Indonesia’s North Maluku Province. The limited knowledge among local officials on MPA management was one of the reasons why the 603-hectare island, which is known for its frequent dolphin sightings continues to be unprotected, despite initial efforts by the Government. In order to build the capacity of the local stakeholder on MPA management, the USAID Sustainable Ecosystems Advanced (SEA) Project initiated 11-day-training on “Principles of Marine Protected Areas” in Ternate, North Maluku on 8-18 November 2016.
The training involved 20 participants comprising district and provincial officers from Ternate City and the districts of Tidore Kepulauan, Sula as well as from South, Central, and West Halmahera, members of community surveillance groups (POKMASWAS) and staff members of Marine and Fisheries Directorate for Surveillance.
During the training, the participants were learning about the basic knowledge on MPAS in the Indonesian context. They were also exposed to MPA categories, rules and regulations, basic marine ecology, fisheries management, marine tourism, as well as basic planning for MPA management. Additionally, they were trained about steps to design education and outreach initiative through a series of exercises on crafting education messages and outreach channel to disseminate key information to the community. The training was followed by a competency qualification assessment to ensure that participants were able to grasp the knowledge learned.
“Before, we had very limited information and knowledge on how to better utilize the potential of Mare Island. However, during the training, we have been more informed and capacitated on how to manage the abundance marine resources of the Island,” said Ikhsan Dukomalamo, a staff of the Fisheries Surveillance team from Tidore Fisheries and Marine Affairs Office. His role includes managing Mare Island’s marine area despite the absence of tools to support his work.
Ikhsan and his colleagues from Tidore expressed optimism to be able to manage Mare Island better after attending the training that was implemented by the Coral Triangle Center (CTC) and Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) under the USAID SEA Project. It was revealed that it was the first training on MPA management held in the province.
The training is the first of a series that will be conducted under USAID SEA Project to strengthen the capacity of local officials in North Maluku in managing their marine resources, promote sustainable fisheries, and support the provincial government’s plan to declare new MPAs. These planned MPAs include Mare Island in Tidore, Guraici in South Halmahera, Rau in Morotai, Jiew Island in Halmahera, and Widi Islands in South Halmahera.