Get To Know Local Wisdom Of Marine Ecotourism On Misool Island, West Papua

Local wisdom becomes a means for active participation in marine ecotourism development. It is done while preserving biodiversity to maintain the cultural and traditional landscape. Likewise, in Misool tourism, Raja Ampat, West Papua, applied Sasi Laut as local wisdom. Indigenous people put on this tradition in marine ecotourism sites to protect nature.

About Indigenous Knowledge and Traditional Ecology in Misool Island

Indigenous Knowledge and Traditional Ecological Knowledge play an important role in natural resource management in Papua. It supports environmental conservation and the management of biodiversity values. Also, it becomes a pearl of local wisdom in ecology that is passed down from generation to generation through cultural transmission between humans and their environment.

Local people in Papua have more instinctive knowledge in responding to the characteristics of their environmental resources. In addition, this core knowledge is also useful in developing tourism in Papua. It plays an important role in shaping the overall cultural identity. As a result, indigenous knowledge and traditional ecology contribute to cultural identity,

In Indonesia, local wisdom is incorporated into marine ecotourism development, such as on Misool Island, Raja Ampat. Located in the heart of the Coral Triangle in the West Papua Province of Indonesia, the Raja Ampat area is included in the UNESCO (world heritage center). There is an extraordinary diversity of habitats, good reef conditions, and a charming aesthetic value.

For that reason, Misool island in Raja Ampat has been famous for scuba diving and snorkeling for many years. Simultaneously, it becomes a marine ecotourism location because of its high diversity of marine life. The indigenous people of the community in Misool consist of the Matbat or Gunung Orang, who earn their income by traditional fishing in the sea.

Marine Ecotourism Practices on Misool Island as the Primary Movement

One of the local wisdom practices that have become a tradition in Misool is Sasi. Sasi is a traditional approach to natural resource management through the spatial and temporal closure of forests, fields, coral reefs, and fishing grounds. The goal is to give the animal or plant time to reproduce.

When the practice of Sasi is applied at sea, it is called by terms of Sasi Laut. The movement aims to support marine conservation goals in Misool Island, West Papua. Traditional leaders explain the history of Sasi Laut on Misool Island. Sasi Laut is a form of traditional ecological knowledge about the behavior of marine animals in certain marine environments.

The tradition of maintaining togetherness and diversity in the community is the main basis for implementing Sasi Laut. This attempt occurs once a year for six months during the southern monsoon. Local people closed certain marine areas and could not take marine products. They saw that the seafood was significantly reduced day by day. Finally, they started to think of a way to fix it.

With Sasi Laut, people can get more marine catches optimally. On the other hand, Sasi Laut protects biodiversity and marine species with certain seasons. Some of them have marine products in the form of sea cucumbers, trochus, turban shells, and lobsters. It’s a species that has the Sasi Laut program because of its economic value.

Sasi Laut as Marine Ecotourism in Misool Island

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Sasi Laut is a no-take zone by local people on Misool Island, West Papua. Most of the indigenous people who work in the tourism sector understand how Sasi Laut supports the development of marine ecotourism. So, the community protects their Sasi Laut area by closing the sea area for some time. After that, the ban was lifted to come to harvest people from the village.

By implementing Sasi Laut in no-take zones around dive sites, resorts, and marine destinations, it provides understanding to visiting tourists. Sasi Laut’s local wisdom aims to gain support for active participation from the community in protecting marine ecotourism sites in their area. There are several rules that form the main basis of this prohibition.

To enter Sasi Laut through the no-take zone, the owner of the dive resort must meet with traditional leaders and village heads. This is useful for negotiating the duration and size of Sasi Laut in an area. Once they reach the best possible agreement, a no-take zone can then be established in a compromising manner for community members and the dive resort.

The integration of Sasi Laut in marine ecotourism management benefits indigenous peoples in West Papua because they become Sasi custodians in their own marine area. Meanwhile, marine ecotourism developers can offer tourists well-protected coral reefs. It can also protect the rights of indigenous peoples and their culture as the main identity.

As a result, marine ecotourism on Misool Island is well maintained and sustainable. At the same time, tourists can appreciate it, and local community members can sustainably continue traditional fishing. In other words, local wisdom in Papua provides significant benefits for optimal natural conservation.