Jakarta – KOMUNTO (Tomia Fishermen Community) has been awarded as one of the 25 winners in Equator Prize 2010. The good news was directly delivered via email by The Equator Initiative (the organization which establishes the Equator Prize). The Equator Prize is awarded biennially to recognize outstanding community efforts to reduce poverty through conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. A representative from KOMUNTO will be scsheduled to attend the inaugural award night and participate at the international community-driven meeting as part of UN’s event in 2010, on September in New York, United States.
WWF-Indonesia Wakatobi Program hailed the achievement. Under WWF-TNC Wakatobi Program, KOMUNTO is one of WWF’s partners in promoting sustainable natural resources. “We’re proud of what KOMUNTO has achived. We have been teamed to work on conservation, building the locals capacity and promoting sustainable management of natural resources,” Project Leader of WWF-Indonesia Wakatobi Office, Veda Santiadji said.
Veda added, KOMUNTO as part of the communities living in small islands of Wakatobi has showed to the world that through good and consistent assistance, the locals is able to make some outstanding efforts and chart a path toward the sustainable use of biodiversity. On their official website, Equator Initiative explains that the Wakatobi group of fishermen has succeeded to mobilize and organize previously isolated and scattered fishermen groups, eliminate coral reef bleaching, stabilize fish prices, access capital for local development projects, and engage local government in management activities.
Other KOMUNTO’s achievement is implementing “fish bank” model which has been adopted in Tomia fishing ground. The fish bank is determined as no-fishing zone aiming at ensuring the fish stock regeneration.The fish bank method was carried to overcome destructive fishing practices (dynamite and poison fishing). The “bad” players using those exploitive fishing are KOMUNTO’s enemies since the KOMUNTO fishermen still use oar and small boats. The fish bank has also been replicated in many local fishermen. At the policy level, KOMUNTO has also contributed in giving inputs for the spatial zonation of Wakatobi National Park which was signed and approved by the national government in 2007. “I hope this big achievement will give extra energy for all of us to keep on working on conservation. Thus there will be more and more KOMUNTOs in the future,” Veda said.
Source: WWF – July 29, 2010
By: Masayu Yulien Vinanda