North Maluku is one of the core working sites of the USAID SEA due to its high marine biodiversity, status as a national priortity area for fisheries, the presence of small island provinces/districts, high rates of extreme poverty, as well as its high vulnerability to climate change. The area has also received little support for fisheries management conservation. 69 % of the Province’s total area (145, 819 km2) is composed of territorial waters with 3,104 km of coastline. The fish stock in the province is approximately 1,035,230 tons with an estimated maximum sustainable yield of 51,000 tonnes/year in 2011.
Overfishing is one of the major threats to the Province’s fisheries resources, particularly Illegal, Unreported, and Urregulated (IUU) fishing practices, overexploit demersal fisheries, and export grouper to other parts of Asia. Other threats include destructive fishing, coral reef harvesting, land reclamation, lack of data on the status of marine resources, and lax small vessel registration.
MPA threats revealed are the limited number and relatively poor management of MPA sites. Meawhile challenges on Marine Spatial Planning are lack of capacity and coordination as well as habitat destruction. Law enforcement is poor due to weak capacity and compliance as a result of lack of socialization of regulations and involvement with law enforcement at local level and few provincial fisheries laws.
The key activities of the USAID SEA Project in the Province are aiming to address overfishing and destructive fishing practices. A series of activities undertaken include assessment of fish status, identification of data gaps, evaluation of logbook vessel registration and monitoring system and establishment of traceability system. Additionally, the USAID SEA Project will also work to strengthen data collection methods, management, and dissemination systems, as well as develop a baseline for marine resources status.
Meanwhile to address its poor management of MPA sites, the USAID SEA Project has been conducting survey and identification of potential new conservation areas, organizing a series of trainings, as well as undertaking rehabilitation for mangrove and coral ecosystems to reduce habitat destruction. Issues on MSP are tackled by revising local zonations regulations, socializing MSP, and developing a monitoring and evaluation system.
In law enforcement aspect, the activities include developing communication and outreach programs to better socialize fisheries and marine regulation as well as developing incentive systems for community-based monitoring activities (SISMASWAS) .