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Maratua Island


Conservation and community benefit: Fish aggregation devices to encourage sustainable fishing practices

Date Approved: 07.2002

Maratua Island is one of the six Berau Islands located on the eastern coastal shelf of Indonesian Borneo. One of the world’s only saltwater 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. There are four fishing villages on Maratua Island itself. 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, help fishermen become less dependent on reef resources by building fish aggregating devices (FADs). These simple devices attract pelagic fish species. FADs have already helped island residents make a living from fishing and have also diminished illegal and destructive techniques such as dynamite and cyanide fishing.

Project Updates

June 2008

Even though 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 ecotourism business focusing on conservation and visits to their underwater ecosystem. 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 five cents per pound during implementation. Only one FAD remains in place.

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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 remaining two 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.

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