Wakatobi Regency, an area that has unique characteristics, the high potential of fisheries and marine resources has significantly been able to revive the regional economic sector in sustaining community welfare. This economic value arises in a sizable amount from activities of utilizing fish resources from the Wakatobi waters. The condition of coral reefs is key and is a major factor considering that reef fish is the star commodity captured by fishers.
Most of the fishers in Wakatobi are small scale fishers with a fleet capacity of not more than 5 GT using only, simple fishing gear. This condition should be able to guarantee sustainable fisheries in the National Park area, is it though?
If you look at the EAFM (Ecological Approach to Fisheries Management) composite assessment conducted in 2012 and 2016, in general, the composite values of the 6 domains showed an increase, especially in the fish resource domain, but decreased in institutional values. Ideally, the condition of the fishery should be able to guarantee the sustainability of the resource, with a note of improvement in several domains.
Evidence on the ground is found to indicate potential problems that come from the gaps in management rules, and threaten sustainability. This potential problem originated from illegal fishing practices in the National Park zone. Such as the use of potassium cyanide, unlicensed andon fishers, and operating in local utilization zones or other zones that are not suitable for use, including the installation of FADs (fish aggregating devices). This fisheries technique needs to be regulated further, considering that marine tourism is still the main focus of the National Park.
Based on the description above, the Wakatobi Regional Government needs to fill the space. Considering that the technical factor and practices of capture fisheries are very detailed, and many legal bases are governing them. Collaboration is needed to facilitate one another as a contribution to the management of capture fisheries more thoroughly, with due regard to the functions and duties following their respective authorities.
According to the conditions above, on September 12, 2019, a public consultation was held on the draft Regulations of the Regent regarding fishing practices in Wakatobi District. The event attended by community representatives, including DKP Wakatobi, Wakatobi National Park, BKIPM-KKP, Legal Bureau, Haluoleo University (UHO), Wakatobi AKKP, non-government organization (WWF-ID, The Nature Conservancy, RARE), businesses, fishing groups, and community representatives/island forums in Wakatobi Regency.
The public consultation proceeds seriously into the afternoon. Discussing the body of content one by one of the initial drafts of the very technical Regent Regulations, addressing details of fishing practices, data collection, fishing areas, marketing, fishing control, fishermen empowerment, restrictions on community participation and businessmen.
“The technical draft rules of fishing practice are indeed very much needed to fill in gaps, and augment existing regulatory instruments. We also need to harmonize this draft with existing regulations, especially related to the portion of authority in accordance with existing laws, so that the process will be smoother, ” Mr. La Fassa stated, as Head of the Regional Park Management Section II, opening the public consultation discussion.
This statement is in accord with instructions from the Southeast Sulawesi Province DKP delivered by Ms. Femmy as Section Head of Facilities and Infrastructure in the Capture Fisheries Sector, mentioning that, collaborative activities such as this are very helpful for a number of capture fisheries management programs fronted by the Province. On the other hand, for business operators, proprietorship Pulau Mas as a live coral fish exporter company that has undergone the Fisheries Improvement Project with WWF Indonesia, welcomes this intention. There is progress showing the active role of all stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of fish resources in Wakatobi.
This process will be followed by consultation or request for a review of the Regent’s Regulation draft from the legal section of the Wakatobi Regional Government to the Provincial Legal Bureau prior to the endorsement process. As a follow-up, the existence of a Working Group Team (LWG) is essential as a forum in the preparation of other plans to support sustainable fishing practices in Wakatobi waters.