Home » Women’s Group in Rajaampat: Big Harvest of Marine Biota from Sasi

Women’s Group in Rajaampat: Big Harvest of Marine Biota from Sasi

by Senaman
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Rajaampat – Local women in Kapatcol Village, West Miscool District, Rajaampat Regency, known as the Waifuna Women’s Group, held an open sea sasi event. The Sasi event is one of the customary practices to manage natural resources sustainably that is still applied today in the Maluku and Papua regions. The Sasi area in Kapatcol Village was opened after not operating for one year.

Sasi is a customary mechanism to regulate the management of natural resources, both on land and at sea, within a certain period. During Sasi, no one is allowed to take resources in the area under Sasi until a predetermined time. 

If Sasi is carried out for one year, then the community is not allowed to take biota such as animals and plants in the sea for a whole year in the area that has been designated as a Sasi area. Thus, the buka Sasi event is a large harvest of marine biota by the local community who have ‘fasted’ from taking resources from the area.

During the buka Sasi event, the community harvests a large amount of marine life in the form of sea cucumbers. Proceeds from the event will be used to support religious, social, and educational savings for residents. Based on tradition, the Sasi area is managed by men. However, in Kepatcol Village, the Sasi area is managed by local women. The women’s ownership rights are fully recognized by the village government, church, and traditional leaders.

In the process, the Waifuna Women’s Group has been assisted with sustainable Sasi management based on science through a partnership with YKAN. This includes developing a Sasi agreement based on the results of monitoring sea cucumber and lobster populations.

The Sasi agreement must be adhered to by all group members. For example, one of the agreements states that group members can only take mature biota and use environmentally friendly fishing gear when the Sasi is open.

According to Almina Kacili, Chairperson of the Waifuna Women’s Group. Women also have the right and must be at the forefront of preserving the environment, especially as mothers who educate the next generation to instill environmental stewardship. Another right that is no less important is to instill the principles of nature conservation in the surrounding environment.

The Sasi area management activities carried out by the women in Waifuna are also full of challenges, for example, what Waifuna is currently facing is related to climate change. In recent years, big waves, strong winds, and rain must be faced patiently. 

There is great commitment and dedication to the Sasi activity, which is a tradition of preserving underwater natural resources that has been carried out by the local indigenous community for generations. In 2019, the local village government expanded the Sasi area to 215 hectares. This is a much larger area than the 32 hectares when the Waifuna group was first formed in 2010. 

To support Sasi, the Waifuna Group also received assistance in organizational management. Organizational management is applied in dividing the group into several functions, namely diving, harvesting, recording results, and managing income.

As a development partner of the West Provincial Government, YKAN said it pays great attention to customary integration in managing conservation areas, including in Area 4 of the Misool Islands Waters. Conservation in the Bird’s Head Seascape region can be more effective if it is supported by the socio-cultural system and the role of women which is materialized into local policies.

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