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Conservation and community benefits: Motorboats for patrol and enforcement of community fishing grounds

Date Approved: 07.2003


This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

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.

Project Updates

January 2005

Outboard motors were delivered to each of the four Asmat community groups. Each group built and donated longboats to go with the motors and they are being used to both monitor outside fishing activities and facilitate communication among the four groups.

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July 2004

Community meetings regarding the enforcement of Asmat waters have taken place and several agreements have been established for the protection of the marine area. In spite of the remote location of the Asmats and the unexpected need for careful coordination of equipment transportation, the outboard motors are scheduled to be delivered this summer.

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