Merauke Regency’s natural wealth in Papua is marked by coastal areas and swamps. Kolepon Island is located in Merauke Regency and is one out of nine outer islands under the authorization of Papua Province located in the Aru Sea and adjacent to Australia. Dominated by mangrove swamp and muddy ground, the 11,620 km2 island is populated and administered under Kimaam District, Tabonji District and Waan District. 

Loka for Coastal and Marine Resources Management (LPSPL) Sorong, Marine and Fisheries Agency of Papua Province, Fisheries Agency of Merauke Regency and Polytechnic of Yasanto, Merauke, have been conducting a series of identification activities in the Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Kolepon Island since 2015.

Kolepon’s 550.000 ha marine area is designated as an MPA for shrimp fisheries spawning aggregation (SPAG) habitat and to preserve the conservation goal in accordance with the national target as well as giving benefits to people who live within and around the area, in an effort to increase the management’s effectivity in the conservation area, coastal and small islands.

In Merauke, the ATSEA-2 program is focusing its activities on Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP) on barramundi and shrimp fisheries. Hence, assisting the enabling condition of the MPA’s management goal is in line with the programme’s core task. On 3 February 2020, ATSEA-2 facilitated stakeholders discussion and agreement signing on the acceleration of Kolepon as a designated MPA and its 2012 – 2013 roadmap in Jayapura, Papua. 

In addition to that, back in October 2019, ATSEA-2 supported relevant individuals who attended a Certification of Competence Standard (SK3) training on Conservation Field for prospective Kolepon’s conservation managers. The human resources capacity on conservation field is seen as key in achieving management effectiveness. There are eight modules required such as conservation surveillance plan and management strategy development. As a result, 15 prospective managers are certified ranging from local government officials and academics in Papua.