Marine and fisheries resources in the Arafura Sea (WPP 718) must be utilised responsibly in order to ensure their sustainability and improve the welfare of those who rely on them for survival. Considering the vastness of this area and the many types of violations that occur here, a strong monitoring instrument is needed.

Despite many institutions being involved in monitoring this area, a general lack of capacity means violations continue to occur. To address this problem, the ATSEA-2 project collaborated with Navy Main Base (Lantamal) XI Merauke to carry out a series of activities, working with local communities to help expand protection for marine and fisheries resources around WPP 718.

As a first step, on 22 and 23 February 2023, a socialisation activity for the community-based monitoring system (Siswasmas) was conducted for coastal communities under the supervision of Lantamal XI Merauke, specifically in the coastal villages of Kumbe and Lampu Satu, where ATSEA-2 is currently active.

The objective was to familiarise these communities with the monitoring system and form a Fisheries Community Watch Group (Pokmaswas). This group will assist the government in legal awareness efforts, through socialisation and implementation of the 3M principles (known in Indonesian as Melihat/mendengar, Mencatat dan Melaporkan, which means Seeing/hearing, Recording and Reporting in English).

Representing South Papua Province, the Department of Agriculture, Marine Affairs, Fisheries and Food Security (Dinas Pertanian, Perikanan dan Ketahanan Pangan-DPPKP) of South Papua Province provided direction and opened this activity. In his speech, Junus Polikarpus, as the Head of the Capture Fisheries Section of DPPKP South Papua, expressed hope for the formation of an integrated community-based monitoring mechanism by the government, the community, non-governmental organisations and the fisheries business world, while drawing attention to applicable laws and regulations.

“Hopefully, there will also be good cooperation from the community to assist the government, especially in monitoring the sea in the WPP 718 area,” said Polikarpus in his opening remarks to the participants. The socialisation activity was attended by a group of around 30 people, made up of community leaders, religious figures, female leaders and youth representatives.

With this socialisation activity, it is hoped that coastal communities can better understand the importance of monitoring marine and fisheries resources and can actively participate in monitoring. This is expected to help improve the sustainability and preservation of marine and fisheries resources in this area.

By Johanis Valentino Fofied