National Fishermen's Day
Starting from a tradition on Pelabuhan Ratu Beach in April 1960, a tradition carried out by fishermen from generation to generation to express gratitude for the life success from fishing. Then it was agreed that every April 6 is celebrated as national fishermen's day.
Indonesia has enormous fisheries potential, this is based on the geographical location of Indonesia which is flanked by two oceans, namely the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
In Togean Islands, Tojo Una-Una (Touna) District - Central Sulawesi, most inhabitants make their living from farming and fishing. The fishermen in this area were originally fishermen who caught fish traditionally using simple hooks and lines. The Bajo tribe, which occupies some of the coastal villages, is very good at catching fish by traditional methods including spearfishing.
But along with the times and the high demand for fish for export, some of the fishermen try to increase their catch by catching fish illegally by means of; dynamite, use of compressors, and use of cyanide. Overfishing can also be an issue.
IMPACTS OF ILLEGAL FISHING
The bombing of fish will completely destroy the coral reefs by reducing them to rubble that new coral recruits cannot attach to and also cause the small fish to die although the bombers only take the fish they want according to market size.
The use of air compressors is illegal and is sometimes used in conjunction with spearfishing, cyanide, or bomb fishing.
Use of cyanide or anesthesia; used to catch various kinds of valuable reef fish for the live fish trade, for example, napoleon, grouper, and various ornamental fish, the fish are stunned by squirting with cyanide among the reef where they live. The cyanide kills everything it drifts past, including coral, molluscs, and other fish.
Spearfishing. If this method is carried out in the traditional manner of spearfishers holding their breath there will be little impact, however, used together with compressors enables fishermen to stay down for hours and overfish the reef decimating the coral fish population and leaving little remaining for the other fishermen.
All these means are very destructive to the marine environment. There are already regulations prohibiting these harmful activities, but there are still many people who take the risk. Often this is because the perpetrators have not been prosecuted when caught.
Damage to coral reefs by bomb fishing will require at least 5 generations to grow back, if ever. To maintain the sustainability of the fishing industry in the Togean Islands, serious protection is needed from the government and law enforcement.
We encourage the government to prohibit the use of toxic chemical sunscreens cream in our local waters because sunscreen contains chemicals that kill coral, harm marine megafauna such as dolphins and whales, and fish. Even small amounts are extremely toxic. Plastic waste that reaches the oceans is very threatening to the survival of marine life. Climate change has also triggered the bleaching of coral reefs.
POTENTIAL SOLUTIONS FOR THE FUTURE
It is hoped that the government will increase the supervision of areas prone to illegal fishing activities and establish good cooperation with local communities through the Community Monitoring Groups (Pokmaswas).
The Togean islands urgently need Marine Protected Areas (MPA) that provide sanctuaries for 30% of the marine area in order to recover fish stocks. Togean Conservation Foundation intends to help provide alternatives to destructive fishing through access to multi-species marine aquaculture. Providing training for sustainable fishing without destroying the nature of the sea. Educate the public about the law and ecology of the sea. The basic needs of local fishermen need to be considered, for example, boats and low impact fishing gear, as well as information on how to find a solution, where Indonesian fishermen have limited access to weather information, waves, wind direction, and access to information about fish needed by the market.
Currently, the Togean Conservation Foundation (TCF) is working to preserve the underwater world of the Togean Islands. We welcome donations towards our marine conservation activities and to support our local fishermen to fish more sustainably and in the near future, the foundation hopes to recruit volunteers who are willing to join in carrying out activities for the rehabilitation of damaged reefs. Welcome to join us.