My Experience as an Intern in Parigi, Seram Utara
My name is Teguh Prianto, a student of Marine and Fisheries Science Faculty, Institut Pertanian Bogor (IPB). I participated in an internship program of Masyarakat dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI) in October – November 2016. My study during the internship was focused on small-scale fishermen perception towards the implementation of Fair Trade (FT) program. My main internship activity was in Parigi Village, Seram Utara District, and Central Maluku Regency. It is a small village with around 300 head of family (Kepala Keluarga), where nearly 90% of the population are fishermen. At the moment, the fishermen are using katinting boat with Johnson machine with 15 – 40 HP capacity and handline as the fishing gear.
The main objective of my study was to find out more about Fair Trade in tuna fishery. Fair Trade is a certification scheme that guarantees to the consumer that the product was caught and produced in an environmentally-friendly and socially responsible manner. In 2014, MDPI became the implementing partner for the first pilot project of Fair Trade USA–SEAFOOD, where Coral Triangle Processors — a processor and also exporter of Yellowfin Tuna is the client/certificate holder. As far as I know, there is still not a large quantity of literature available on Fair Trade Seafood, so it is a challenge for me to write a thesis about it, but of course I will try my best. This really is an exceptional experience for me to do observation in the field directly. The observations were conducted by direct observation of fishing activities, filling questionnaires and conducting interviews with fishery stakeholders. In Parigi, I stayed in a fisherman’s home, close to the landing site so that I can interact with fishermen easily. The interviews with fisherman were not only conducted at the landing site, but also in fishermen homes to build a better friendship with them. It is important to me to have a good relationship with fishermen. In addition, I also participated in various activities such as fishers’ association meetings, playing volleyball with the community, and other environmental activities such as a beach clean-up.
My daily activities revolved around collecting data from unloading vessels, such as the weight and length of the fish, and interviewing fishermen about their fishing trip, to obtain information related to fishing locations, bait used, as well as their interaction with the ETP (Endangered, Threatened and Protected) animals. During October 2016, there were about 411 unloading events, consisting of 3.7 tons of fish. Fishing is a very important activity in the community. Fishermen recognise the benefits of the Fair Trade program: by joining Fair Trade fishers associations, they get new knowledge that they didn’t get before like organization, financial management, basic accounting, safety at sea, etc.
Interview the fisherman. Photo credit: MDPI
Another benefit of joining the Fair Trade program is the Premium Fund, which is calculated as a percentage of the ex-vessel price of fish. The Premium
Fund is used for community projects, with at least 30% of the money to be used for environmental projects, such as developing a sea turtle conservation program, while the remaining 70% is used for social projects, like improving village infrastructure. Basically, the Premium Fund is used to finance projects that have long-term benefits for the community.
I am grateful to be able to join MDPI internship program. I get a lot of exciting experiences with a big bonus to explore the beauty of Maluku’s nature and culture. It was easy and fun for me to integrate with the Parigi community and in only a few days I was able to understand the dialects. Thank you so much MDPI and all the team who helped me to learn and to understand the implementation of Fair Trade program. I hope MDPI will be more successful and will inspire more people. Danke!
Writer: Teguh Prianto