Convincing communities to establish an LMMA is never straightforward. While managing marine areas is not new, bridging traditional and scientific approaches to effectively manage marine areas can take some convincing.

Through the support of a USAID Programme, Sustainable Ecosystems Advanced (USAID SEA) Project, local champions have been honing their storytelling skills to convince other communities to manage their marine resources.

Champions supported through the SEA Project visited the Nikulukan village in Maluku Province and shared their stories at a village meeting. After a not-to-successful visit in the past, ILMMA’s latest attempt to persuade the village head to adopt the LMMA approach was a success.

By telling their own stories of success and what it takes to establish an LMMA, the Nikulukan village could see something for themselves if they come on board: have bigger fish, fish closer to their villages, and more fish.

Focusing on the end-goal – improved livelihoods from increased marine yields and from developing tourism ventures around their beautiful, protected, marine and coastal areas – communities understand the value of implementing and enforcing regulations such as establishing and respecting no-take zones to protect important breeding sites or banning certain types of fishing gear.

This community outreach approach helps communities understand that they can improve the condition of their marine resources, including the catch of key species and overall environmental quality, by following some simple but important steps.

This story was adapted from a Talking SEA newsletter publication written by Sandra Tjan.