06 Feb Turning Bycatch Into Business, SEANET Empowers Women in Merauke’s Coastal Fishing Communities

Hasna is a 36 year-old mother of four boys from a fishing village in Samkai, Merauke District in Papua Province.  Her house is right next the shore where local fishing boats anchor before going out to sea and unload their catch upon their return.

The shore in her village is often lined with discarded fish that were caught by fishermen as bycatch. These discarded fish include ikan manyung and ikan kaca, which fishermen throw away because they have no or very low market value.

In an effort to help improve the livelihood of women in Hasna’s village, address the issue of bycatch, SEANET Indonesia taught 4 groups of women to turn the low value fish into high value processed fish products such as smoked fish, dried salty fish, fish balls and fish crackers.

Hasna and her group of 10 women joined the SEANET in May 2017. Within two months, the group rolled out their new products in local markets and saw their profit increase by about 80% by switching the raw materials to Manyung fish .  “SeaNet is quite helpful in guiding and improving the products of our group. It provides attention, assistance, helps us improve our records and gives marketing access,” she said.

Apart from learning fish processing techniques, Hasna and her group also learned about business planning and marketing as well as leadership skills. Hasna is a recognized leader in her area for fisheries business growth and she says that SEANET has increased confidence has helped her become empowered her to become a leader,

Recognizing the challenges marine resource-dependent fishing communities face, SEANET aims to improve the economic and environmental value of fisheries in the Arafura Sea and improve the livelihoods of marine resource dependent Indonesian fishing communities, as well as empower women with economic roles within the fisheries communities. SEANET is being implemented by CTC, in collaboration with TierraMar, and funded by the Australian Government.

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