A novel framework for marine protected areas in small island regions using integrated local wisdom

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Syahibul Kahfi Hamid, Wellem Anselmus Teniwut, Maimuna Renhoran, Roberto Mario Kabi Teniwut

Abstract. The primary challenge faced by policymakers in implementing marine protected areas (MPAs) worldwide is the resistance from coastal communities, specifically in regions that are highly dependent on marine resources for their livelihoods. Countries that have successfully implemented MPAs use different approaches ranging from military to climate change. Although the MPA formulation has been successfully applied to some regions, it cannot be directly adapted in other regions because of the varying social, economic, and cultural characteristics of their coastal communities. Consequently, a unique complexion of related factors is generated, contributing to the resistance from coastal communities regarding the proposed MPAs. Therefore, we demonstrate a novel method for determining MPAs in the Kei Islands using local wisdom and marine supply-side approaches. The combination of the customary values of coastal communities and marine characteristics, namely, phytoplankton biomass, coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrass in the waters, could reduce the resistance of coastal communities. We conducted field surveys from 2017 to 2020 to collect data on the coastal community’s characteristics, marine characteristics, and fishing grounds of local fishermen from 23 villages, in addition to remote sensing for biomass identification. Furthermore, we conducted in-depth interviews and FGDs with fishermen, marine farmers, local kings, regional leaders, and the Regional People’s Representative Council. Based on the results of this study, we determined the optimal MPA location for coastal communities and the sustainability of marine resources in the Kei Islands. This study is expected to provide a suitable model for coastal regions worldwide to ascertain the location of MPAs.

Key Words: MPA, Local wisdom, Welfare, Environment, Sea

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