The Jakarta Post
Supported by United States of America for International Development (USAID), North Maluku province declared its three new Marine Protected Areas (KKP3K) covering about 226,000 hectares of its seas at its 70th-anniversary event on Tuesday.
The three areas are Sula Island (117,960 ha), Rao Island (65,521 ha) and Makian Island (42,799 ha).
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said the cooperation between Indonesia and the US that had been established over the past seven decades had helped Indonesia in improving its protection of marine biodiversity.
"The opening of these three new KKP3Ks in North Maluku will certainly help us to achieve sustainable fisheries and food security goals. We hope that the two countries will continue the collaboration in achieving that goal," he said.
North Maluku’s waters provide livelihoods for more than 34,000 households, according to Deputy Governor Natsir Thoib.
US Ambassador to Indonesia Joseph R. Donovan Jr. said that besides North Maluku, USAID had supported the ministry’s efforts in increasing fish production and food security in Maluku and West Papua.
“We were happy to contribute by offering technical support through USAID. As a result […] an area about the same size as the whole island of Morotai will now be protected. This will support conservation, fishing and tourism,” Donovan said.
He said the US had been partnering with Indonesia for 30 years in the marine and fisheries sector. He said the sector had improved conservation and sustainable use of Indonesia’s valuable and unique marine environment.
“This is to the benefit of both of our countries,” he said.
USAID Indonesia mission director, Erin E. McKee, said USAID Sustainable Ecosystems Advanced (SEA) had supported local administrations in managing 8 million ha of waters in the three provinces.
“Through our cooperation in the maritime sector, USAID SEA has supported the government's vision […] to protect vital coral reefs through the marine spatial plans that equip them with important instruments to implement better natural-resource governance," McKee said.
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry Director-General for Territorial Sea Management Brahmantya Satyamurti said the government and USAID had agreed to work together on 20 million ha of KKP3Ks by 2020.
“The establishment of the KKP3Ks will protect the main marine habitats and species that will directly increase fisheries productivity and ensure food security for local communities," Brahmantya said.