19 Sep Strengthening Fishermen’s Capacity To Track Fish Stocks in Merauke

On September 19, 2017, CTC conducted a logbook training together with Fishing Port Authority in Merauke as part of the implementation of the Building a Sustainable Seafood Industry to Support Coastal Communities in the Arafura Sea’ (SeaNet Indonesia) Project. As many as 61 participants from local fishermen (mostly boat captains), small fishing companies, fisheries instructors, fisheries agency, government monitoring, control and surveillance unit and Musamus University students attended the indoor and outdoor simulation during the logbook training.

Most of the participants were gillnet fishermen targeting Barramundi. Of the fisherman, 42 operated boats larger than 10 gross ton (GT) and two operated boats less than 10 GT. CTC received consistent positive responses from the participants, who stated that they now know what the logbooks are used for and how to fill them in correctly.

The overall aim of fisheries science is to provide information to managers on the state and life history of the stocks. Fish stock assessment is fundamental for managing fisheries resources to help decision makers address the following fisheries management questions:

1) What is the current state of the stock?
2) What has happened to the stock in the past?
3) What will happen to the stock in the future under alternative management choices?

For fisherman on the ground it can be difficult to understand the importance of correctly filling out their logbooks. Information such as the type of fish caught (target and bycatch), type and number of fishing gear used and areas visited should be recorded in order to provide reliable information for fisheries managers. Failure to provide this information will lead to mismanagement of certain fisheries, which could result in irreversible effects such species extinction.

Almost all Fisheries Management Areas (FMA) in Indonesia face the same challenge to provide a scientific-based fish stock assessment on a target species due to lack of data. Fishermen’s logbooks are a fundamental source of fishery-dependent data that helps define the current fish stock status and provide a Biological Reference Point (BRP) for management measures.

Although there are records of certain target species at the local Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Unit (MCS) office, its quality is questionable due to lack of knowledge by boat captains on how to fill in the logbook.

Acknowledging this issue, SeaNet project conducted a minor study on how to improve fisheries data in FMA 718, particularly in Merauke. We concluded that logbook training should be delivered to boat captains and other related government officials.

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