The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our community partners in Les, North Bali, and Banggai island, Sulawesi

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our community partners in Les, North Bali, and Banggai island, Sulawesi

It has been three months since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, also reaching remote communities in the areas where we work. It has affected our community partners in different ways. Since late March 2020, the marine aquarium fishers in Les village have had less orders, and therefore significantly less income, and there have been almost no international flights coming out of Bali, so no cargo has been shipped anywhere. The fishers are starting to face a hard life, and they are struggling to put food on the table for their families. Working at the Aquaculture Centre with us has helped them a little bit, and friends of LINI have supported the fishers’ families by providing rice, cooking oil, and eggs for them, and milk for the younger children. 

Despite all the uncertainty, we still continue with all aspects of our fieldwork that do not require us to attend or organize any gatherings. We try to practice physical distancing, wearing masks, and maintain a high level of hygiene at the Centre.

The monitoring of the restored reefs has still been conducted every month. During our monitoring this May, we encountered coral bleaching at depths of 5 meters to 20 meters, and bleaching has also been reported on neigbouring reefs along the North coast of Bali.    

Our community partner Yayasan KALI in Banggai, and the fisherfolks in Banggai, continue to restore the habitat of the Banggai cardinalfish (BCF), and regularly conduct monitoring of the BCF populations in Bone Baru. They celebrated Earth Day with the planting of mangrove seedlings, which will increase the area for fish to breed in and protect the coastline from erosion.  While the Bone Baru villagers continue with their conservation work, the Octopus fishers of Popisi village in North Banggai have not been so lucky, as their Octopus fishing activities have stopped almost completely. The Octopus fishers must try and find alternative jobs, such as labours and construction workers, at a time when so very many other poor people are out of work.

We will continue to support these communities as best we can but hope that anyone wanting to give donations to help them will do so. All donations will go directly to the villagers who are working with us on the community- based conservation projects. Thank you again for your interest and support! 

Update on Octopus fishery management in Banggai Archipelago

Update on Octopus fishery management in Banggai Archipelago

It is almost three years that we and our partner, Blue Venture, have been conducting Octopus data collection in Popisi village, Banggai Laut District. The landing data were collected by our enumerators who are also Octopus buyer middlemen. The data that are collected include date, weight, sex, mantle length, fishers and fishing grounds. The purpose of the collected data is to utilise it in the decision-making process in fishery management, for example, to consider and implement temporary closure of fishing grounds. 

Based on the data collection and consultative meetings with local stakeholders, we conducted the first temporary closure for Octopus in Asasal Island (385 Ha), which was closed from October 2018 to January 2019. The fishers acknowledged the economic benefits of the closure, even though they did not significantly increase when compared to last year’s production. However, we felt the positivity and enthusiasm from the communities in the effort to manage their marine resources. We used the momentum to engage them for the next closure, which is now happening in Bone Baru village, Banggai Laut District. The second temporary closure for the Octopus fishery in Bone Baru (246.36Ha) will continue until December 2019. The period of the closure is three months, the same as in Asasal. Looking at the lessons learned from the first closure, now we are strengthening the surveillance of the closure by its local surveillance team through a signed decision letter from the Head of Banggai Utara Sub-district. The letter included the legalisation of four villagers of Bone Baru, who are responsible for surveillance and enforcement during the implementation of the temporary closure. 

Installation of a buoy to mark the temporary closure’s boundary (photo: LINI)

This year, we have also expanded our Octopus data collection to include two villages in Banggai Kepulauan District: Kalumbatan and Lobuton, with assistance from our new intern, Parisa, who will follow the data collection process in the field. He is supervised by Neni from Yayasan KALI, who has experience in the collection in Popisi. 

Socialisation of Octopus data collection in Kalumbatan and Lobuton with Neni and Parisa (photo: LINI)