Jakarta (ANTARA) - Marine conservation in Indonesia must go hand-in-hand with improved well-being for coastal communities, according to a study by the SMERU Research Institute.

In a statement on Saturday, SMERU researcher Annabel Noor Asyah said the institute examined marine protected area (MPA) management, focusing on the conditions and challenges faced by coastal communities.

The study found greater income disparity in villages near MPAs compared to other areas.

"This is because conservation area managers generally only have a background in marine management," Asyah said.

She emphasized the need for MPA managers to have expertise in both marine ecosystems and community development.

The study also revealed that challenges faced by coastal communities vary across MPAs.

Imam Fauzi, head of the Kupang National Marine Conservation Area (BKKPN), noted that coastal communities have diverse characteristics.

Improving community well-being around MPAs requires considering local cultural factors, he said.

"Programs aimed at this goal may not be effective if these factors are not understood," Fauzi added.

Andi Russandi, an expert with the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, listed key challenges in MPA management. These include the growing demand for protein due to population growth and balancing export demands with domestic needs.

He also highlighted the increasing problem of marine pollution. The government has implemented several policies and programs in response, such as the national initiative "Loving Sea Month" to combat marine pollution.

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Translator: Prisca V, Kenzu
Editor: Anton Santoso
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