…and the MDPI team continues to grow
The United States Agency for International Development’s Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans), in collaboration with MDPI has a purpose to work collaboratively in reducing illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. This partnership also aims to establish an innovative system for promoting sustainable fisheries and marine biodiversity conservation. We will also promote a fair and ethical supply chain on small-scale tuna fisheries in Indonesia. The activities will focus primarily on developing and implementing technologies in two supply chains to actively collect fishery data and supply chain that meet international standards and Key Data Elements (KDE) specifically to Catch Documentation and Traceability/CDT). In addition, this partnership will also focus on strengthening fisheries management with coordination between national and provincial governments as well as other stakeholders.
One of main steps to strengthening the tuna fishery management is by improving the data availability, a fundamental factor for enhancing decision making in fisheries management. MDPI, as the sustainable fishery implementing partner, focusing on small-scale handline tuna fishery, conducted the basic training on data collection in Manado, Sulawesi Utara, from October 31 – November 3. The participants of the training were the new field teams who will be assigned in Calaca, Manado and Santiago, Tahuna District, Kepulauan Sangihe, Sulawesi Utara: Rui Xavier Nunez, Novita A. Wulandari, Safludin Lagio, Bambang Ali Akbar, Maghelhais Takalamingan, and Antonius Ado Witin. The training materials were delivered by A. Riza Baroqy, Putra Satria Timur, Hamonangan Simanjuntak, Teguh Wahyu Prawira, Stephani Mangunsong and Ida Ayu Adnyani.
Training Day 1
As always we started with an introduction session between the current MDPI staff and the new staff, followed by a pre-test about basic theory of fisheries sustainability and the importance of data collection (beware teams, we are watching if you’re taking everything in!! 😊). The training emphasized that data is the main basis for sustainable fisheries management that will become an output in the form of scientifically informed policies and regulations. On the flip-side if the data collection is done incorrectly, it will produce the wrong analysis too and it won’t be able to be a basis of good decision making.
Training Day 2
The materials included fish identification, ETP (Endangered, Threatened and Protected) species, and baitfish species. In the data collection, fish identification skills must be mastered by the enumerators. There are two ways in identifying fish: morphologically and anatomically. Morphologically means that it can be seen from the shape of head, eye size, body shape, caudal fin shape, operculum shape, pectoral fin size, and color. On the other hand, anatomically can be seen from the shape and size of the liver and the size of the swim bladder. After obtaining a theory about the basic technic of fish identification, participants were given a test to identify various types of fish that are commonly caught by handline tuna fishermen. The most difficult species to distinguish are the juvenile of yellow fin with the juvenile of big eye tuna as both have very similar morphology.
In the introduction of ETP species, we were given the information about the species that are protected by the law and are prohibited to catch such as sea turtle, manta ray, oceanic whitetip shark, hammerhead shark, whale shark, thresher shark and all kinds of marine mammals.
The next session was about baitfish that are often used by handline fishermen: squid, flying fish, tuna, artificial baitfish, and others. Baitfish information is important to know the baitfish use pattern for fishermen and the role of baitfish ecologically… is the tuna fishery negatively impacting another stock through high bait usage or by using bait which may be coming from an overfished fishery. WE are not sure and this is exactly why data collection is important to begin to answer these questions.
The second day of training was closed by the simulation on how to interview fishermen so that the participants will get a clear picture about any characters of fishermen in the field and how to approach them.
Training Day 3
On the third day, the material that was presented was about PDS (Pelagic Data System) and vessel documentation. PDS is a tool to provide data and information about more detailed fishing location. This tool can provide information of the locations passed by a fishermen’s vessel during his/her fishing trip. Thus, this tool can be used as a traceability documentation of the fishing ground, which is a requirement in exporting fish. In addition, the vessel document is also one of the requirements of traceability, as a proof that the fish originates from a legal fishing vessel. Both of these documents are very important tools to against IUU Fishing.
In this final day of training, all theory in the class was continued by on the field practice. All of participants and the trainers visited the landing site in Muara Sungai Tondano, Manado. We found 1 fisherman conducting fish unloading, so we were able to approach him and conducted the data collection: measuring the fish length, fish identification and interviewing the fisherman.
We are thrilled to have some new additions to the MDPI field team and we are ready to kick off the programs in Sangihe and Manado, Sulawesi Utara 🙂
Writers: Antonius Ado Witin and Maghelhais Takalamingan