The remote Asmat region of New Guinea (part of Indonesia) is renowned for its ancient societies. The area has rich natural resources as well, including extensive mangrove and coastal wetlands. Recently, some coastal Asmat villages reached an agreement with a large Indonesian commercial fishing company to ban fishing in traditional Asmat fishing grounds. These near-shore grounds extend approximately 12 miles out from the coast. But because the no-fishing rules are not being enforced, illegal fishing boats continue to raid the waters along the coast.
Seacology is providing four motorboats so villagers can patrol the near-shore fishing area. The Indo-Pacific Conservation Alliance (IPCA), which has been working with Asmat villages since 1998, will help coordinate the patrols. The IPCA will provide training so villagers can monitor outside fishing and enforce prior agreements with fishing companies.