INDONESIA, Maratua Island, East Kalimantan - July 2002
Fish Aggregation Devices
Maratua Island is one of the six Berau Islands located on the eastern coastal shelf of Indonesian Borneo. One of the world's only salt water lakes is nestled in this region and the white sand beaches of the Berau Islands are one of the largest green turtle nesting sites in Indonesia. Maratua Island itself consists of four fishing villages. These communities, as well as others in the area, depend heavily on marine resources for income and food. Destructive fishing techniques have resulted in overexploitation of several species. Seacology is assisting a local organization, BESTARI, in its efforts to help fishermen become less dependent on reef resources by building Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs). These simple devices attract pelagic fish species, and existing FADs have contributed to local fishermen's income as well as diminished illegal and destructive techniques such as dynamite and cyanide fishing.
UPDATE July 2004 - Five FADs were installed for three different villages. Unfortunately, three of the five FADs were lost in 2003 due to strong currents and broken anchoring ropes. The two remaining FADs are still being well used. The local NGO, KEHATI, has offered to help village women start fermenting a portion of the village's tuna catches to reduce transportation needs and increase the catch's per weight income. Fermented tuna sells at the mainland market for about US$1.20/kg vs. fresh fish sales of only US$.53/kg. As this and other ideas have resulted from the use of FADs, fishing communities have become more supportive of marine resource management and conservation.
UPDATE June 2008 - Even through the original FADS were lost to foul weather in 2003, village conservation awareness of the coral reefs at both the Maratua and Derawan areas remains high. Since 2006 villagers have developed their own eco-tourism business focusing on conservation and visits to their underwater ecosystem (see www.bestari.org). The FAD success also encouraged the local fisheries office to re-implement the program, granting eight new FADS to the community. Unfortunately, fish prices in the area dropped to less than 5 cents per pound during implementation. Only one FAD remains in place.