Hatta Island is located in the southern part of the Banda Naira in the Banda Islands, in Indonesia. The island is divided into two villages, the Kampung Baru (Old Village) and Kampung Baru (New Village). Hatta Island is led by a king who runs day-to-day government administrative functions. The majority of the population is Muslim.
Hatta Island is the only island in Banda that still maintains the tradition of the sea sasisen, a traditional management system in which marine areas are temporarily closed to build up stocks of key marine species. This local knowledge and practice has existed since ancient times and was passed down from generation to generation. The sasisen that applied were especially for trochus, sea cucumbers and batu laga, a shell highly valued for jewelry.
Unfortunately, when ILMMA started working with the Hatta Island communities, there were no rules and procedures for harvesting such marine biota. When sasisen was opened, all sizes can be harvested by the community and a period of open sasisen could last for months. Gradually, as the harvesting practices were not considering the sustainability of stocks and overharvesting occurred, people became concerned. They were very anxious because they were getting less and less catch, the catch tended to be smaller in size, and it took longer to collect than it had in the past.
Encouraged by this concerning situation, in 2012, the community, facilitated by Indonesia LMMA, started to implement local management approaches to build sustainability in their natural resources. The community was welcoming and enthusiastic about taking management actions to rebuild their natural resource base. The approaches not only work to protect marine resources, but include integrated management of natural resources from land, coastal and marine areas. These activities involved all levels of the community, including civil government, traditional institutions, religious leaders, and community leaders. These different important groups, worked together to develop program planning, to form the Hatta Island Conservation Team, and to establish LMMAs that include fisheries management regulations and some no take marine protected areas. The community has also undertaken biological monitoring every six months with trochus as an indicator species to monitor.
To support the management of the island, one of the important activities undertaken by the community was developing Customary Regulations on Natural Resources Management. These rules will help people to manage, utilize and conserve their natural resources in a more responsible manner. The preparation of the rules began in April 2013 and were finally endorsed in December 2014. It took a long time to finalize the regulation, since they were developed by the community in a fully participatory manner. The customary regulations are also supported by maps that consist of a map of the traditional fishing ground, a map of marine protected areas, and marine boundary maps of the Hatta Island.
The Customary Regulation also regulate the procedure for sasisen implementation. Among the set of rules, the community is only allowed to harvest trochus that are a minimum of 7cm size, and forbid people to hire an outsider to replace if they are unable to harvest on their own. After the community finished drafting the regulations, there review by an expert in constitutional and customary laws in order to avoid overlap or violate the laws or regulations issued by the Indonesian government.
After going through a long process, on December 9, 2014, Customary Regulation on Terrestrial, Coastal and Marine Natural Resources Management as well as maps of the sea area designation were formally endorsed in a traditional ceremony. Local leaders and the community agreed to set the inauguration in traditional ceremony because they believe that with prayers the ancestors and guardians of Hatta Island will give their blessing. Thus Hatta island communities will obey and enforce the rules. Customs and religion are sacred and are taboo to be broken by anyone. The time of the traditional ceremonies was eagerly awaited by the community. All community members were present and they followed the ceremony solemnly.
The Customary Regulation on Natural Resource Management and its supporting maps were signed by the King of Hatta Island, Sudar Raharusun, Orlima Customary Leader, Efendi Kempa, and Hatta Island Mosque Imam Awaludin La’aba. Support was obtained from the government by the presence of sub-district Head of Banda Islands, Kadir Sarilan, SE., who co-signed the regulation. Also witnessing the inauguration were representatives from the Navy and Police of Banda Naira Islands.
On that occasion, the Banda Islands Sub-District Head expressed his support for the enforcement of the Hatta Island Customary Regulation on Natural Resources Management, and promised to punish any violators/ perpetrators. He said not to hesitate to report to the authorities if the community finds any violations. The Sub-district Head also proposed that the community to immediately develop new regulation on tourism.
The endorsement of Hatta Island Customary Regulation was also marked the opening trochus and Batu laga sasisen, which has been closed since 2011. But the implementation of open sasisen is little different this time because the regulations have been set.
Before harvest, it has been announced that the size of trochus collected should be above 7cm, and that harvest would be limited to days from 9 to 18 December, 2014. The other difference from the previous sasisen is a prohibition to harvest trochus at two locations namely Batu Merah and Tanjung Putih. Both are now village conservation area. In the past the community was free to harvest trochus anywhere, but now they are aware that there must be protected area that will serve as a source of new trochus and batu laga seeds in future.
Yields in 2014 included about 2.5 tons of trochus. The numbers were less than in 2011, which was over 3 ton. But this in part because the harvest was for a short period, which means it too less effort. Likewise, the community earning in 2014 was reported greater, because the trochus that they sold were larger than in 2011. In 2011 the size was more under 6cm, therefore the sale value fell.
The community rules were enforced immediately when counting and weighing was undergoing. If they found any small trochus in corresponding to the new Customary Regulation those must be destroyed, by burning those small trochus. The ashes are then taken the Adat Leader to be used for specific custom betel nut, and also by other people for medicine. One of the key successes to the endorsement of this Customary Regulation is good cooperation and solidarity among the youth who are involved in the Conservation Team, Village Government involvement, support from traditional and religious leaders, and of course from the community as a whole, which wants to be involved in supporting and enforcing the rules.
Said the Bapa La Eci traditional leaders of Hatta Island: “We have struggled to make the rules, so it must be enforced.”