Haruku Village, Maluku Province, Indonesia

Conservation embedded in Tradition and Culture

Haruku Village, Maluku Province, Indonesia

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View the CCRN’s Haruku Village Community Story as a PDF

Haruku Village is located in Haruku Island, Maluku Province, Indonesia. The total area of Haruku Island is 150 km2. The people of Haruku Island depend on the plantation sector as their main livelihood. Locals have not realized that marine resources can be used as the main support system for livelihoods because of the limitations on the local utilization of fishery commodities. In this area, there is an indigenous practice of coastal resource protection that has been used for hundreds of years called sasi laut. Sasi laut is a form of traditional institution regulating the management of coastal resources based on the knowledge, norms, and value systems of the indigenous people of Maluku. This system regulates the rights and obligations of the indigenous peoples in utilizing and protecting coastal resources. Recently, the practices of sasi laut have weakened due to the external and internal pressures of involved actors. The external factors that threatened the existence of the legal practice of sasi laut were modernization and commercialization, which resulted in the erosion of traditional values. In the internal level of society, sasi laut practices were faced with challenges, such as internal political conflicts, contestation of local economy, regeneration of kewang, and the power of outsiders who did not consider the social and cultural conditions of the indigenous community. The indigenous community of Haruku, which had been more moderate and adaptive to the issues of coastal resource management, drew on cooperation among actors to further develop sasi laut. Advocacy of relationships with outside parties aroused a new awareness to expand the scope of sasi laut, and the adaptation of new values in sasi laut gained the support of the community.