Participants from across Indonesia travelled to the island of Kaledupa last month to discuss community-led approaches to improving the sustainability of octopus fisheries.
This fishers’ forum, hosted by local organisation Forkani, brought fishermen and women, village leaders, representatives of community based organisations and non governmental organisations to the remote Wakatobi archipelago in southeast Sulawesi to share experiences, challenges and strategies in managing reef octopus fisheries.
With representation from communities in Biak Papua, North Minahasa, Manado, Banggai, Makassar, Jakarta, Denpasar and the four Wakatobi islands, all participants shared a common understanding of the importance of octopus fishing as a crucial livelihood in their communities. This diverse group was able to bring unique experiences and perspectives to the discussions, sharing stories and approaches to community led fisheries management from their varied contexts. This ensured rich discussions about the roles of communities and village-level institutions in local fisheries management.
Key to this forum were the experiences that organisations LINI and Forkani were able to share from their journeys in supporting communities to engage in octopus fisheries monitoring.
For the last ten months, LINI has been working in the community of Popisi in the Banggai archipelago, engaging fishers and buyers in discussions around improving the sustainability of the octopus fishery. And on the island of Darawa, a village that depends almost entirely on octopus fishing and seaweed farming, Forkani has been working with local buyers, fishers and community leaders, developing capacity for fishery monitoring and initiating discussions on potential management actions designed and led by local fishers. The forum included a site visit to Darawa, providing forum participants with direct learning opportunities through interactions with community members, as well as the chance to build their experience in monitoring catches.
As we have seen through experiences of supporting community exchange and learning in coastal states across the western Indian Ocean, these fisher forums can play a powerful role in inspiring learning and action as well as building the foundational relationships upon which national peer networks can flourish.
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