Since October 2016, Blue Ventures has partnered with FORKANI – an Indonesian community-based organisation working in the Wakatobi archipelago to secure community management rights of local marine resources.
Over the last 15 months, FORKANI has been facilitating community-based monitoring and management efforts of the octopus fishery in Darawa village, engaging with fishers, village government, traditional leaders and National Park authorities.
Building on over a decade of Blue Ventures’ experience supporting communities across the Western Indian Ocean to organise temporary octopus fishery closures, FORKANI has adapted this management model to an Indonesian context with the support of Blue Ventures’ in-country fisheries technicians.
On 5 July 2018, Darawa village in Wakatobi held a ceremony at One Mbiha beach to declare their management of a 50 hectare octopus fishing site.
In this declaration, the community agreed to close this fishing site for three months, and all fishing activity in the closure area is prohibited. People can continue to fish at 13 other fishing sites in the area, so this does not significantly limit the fishing activity of Darawa’s fishers.
In addition to the closure, the declaration also dictates the type of fishing gear allowed in the area once the closure is over, as well as several other regulations.
The purpose of the fishery closure is to give the octopus time to increase in size and reproduce. This management method is successful because the life cycle of octopus is short – they typically only live for 15-18 months – and they grow very quickly during the first 6 months, almost doubling in weight every month during this period. At the end of a temporary octopus fishery closure, the octopus fishers should be rewarded with the financial benefits of catching more and larger octopus.
The community decided the location and date of the closure based on data that they had collected over the last 15 month from profiling the fishery, catch monitoring and fishing site mapping. These data were also shared at community meetings and with the village government and community leaders. The final community declaration was the culmination of a series of efforts facilitated by FORKANI, the Darawa village government and the Wakatobi National Park.
At the declaration ceremony, Mrs. Ilmiati Daud, SE, M. Si as Vice Regent of Wakatobi said that “knowing the potential of the octopus fishery in Darawa village, we hope the village government will utilize village funds to further develop this potential.”
Mr. La Beloro, Chairman of FORKANI also emphasised that “this management of the octopus fishery by Darawa village is the first case in Indonesia, so hopefully it can be an example for other parts of the country.”
The implementation of a temporary octopus fishery closure in Wakatobi sets an important precedent that will hopefully serve as an example for other organisations and communities working towards community-based fisheries management in Indonesia and beyond.
Contact Marc Fruitema for further information
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