To Save the Leatherback Shark Population, West Papua Local Government Supports StAR Proyek Project –  The Provincial Government of West Papua supports the StAR Project to restore the population of the endangered leatherback shark marine species in its territory.

This support was conveyed by the Governor of West Papua Dominggus Mancadan in a coordination summit with Balitbangda and the StAR Project Consortium in Jakarta.

According to Governor Mandacan, the StAR Project is one of the real implementations of the Special Regional Regulation No. 9 of 2019 as a Sustainable Province (Conservation) for sustainable development and a blue economy.

In general, all stakeholders from KKP, LIPI, BRIN, BKIPM and special presidential staff who were present at the meeting, were willing to support each other by coordinating and synergizing between related institutions, for the successful implementation of the StAR Project.

“As a project that has been supported by the IUCN Shark Specialist Group and the IUCN Conservation Planning Specialist Group, the StAR project is an effort to restore marine species through translocation of the first in the world,” said the Arfak Tribal Chief.

He hopes that these efforts will serve as a blueprint for the recovery of other marine species populations and bring the provinces of West Papua and Indonesia to the world stage as a “conservation leader”.

Head of Balitbangda West Papua, Charlie D Heatubun said, leatherback shark, a charismatic species favored by tourists. Unfortunately it currently has an Endangered status on the IUCN Red List due to pressure from shark fin hunting in the 1990s.

Even in the Raja Ampat KKPD which is known for having a good recovery rate of reef shark populations, sightings of leatherback sharks are still very minimal in the last 20 years.

“The StAR project is an initiatition initiated as a multinational collaboration to rebuild a healthy leatherback shark population in West Papua,” said Charlie.

According to a population feasibility analysis carried out by the StAR Project, with restocking intervention efforts, Charlie continued, the leatherback shark population in West Papua could return to health in the next 8 to 10 years.

While without intervention, it is estimated that the current population will take 60-90 years to develop to reach 100-200 individuals, with a 23 percent chance of extinction.

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