Story from the field: Lively Discussion with the Amazing Fishermen in Tolitoli, Central Sulawesi

9 May 2017
Indah Rufiati

It’s the last week of March and MDPI’s Indah and Nuri and Widi descend on Tolitoli, Central Sulawesi! We have a few objectives: to conduct a lecture on Fisheries Sustainability at the local university, to host a Movie Night in the  local village, to conduct our I-Fish Data Communication Cruiseship and a Fair Trade Committee meeting. It’s not going to be a quiet few days… but the lady team is ready!

The lecture on Fisheries Sustainability was conducted in Universitas Madako Tolitoli and was attended by 36 people (students and lecturers). In this short lecture, Indah presented an introduction to MDPI i and updates, followed by Nuri’s presentation about fisheries data and the role of RFMOs (Regional Fisheries Management Organizations) in tuna management. Widi also had a story to tell, explaining about Fair Trade and its implementation in Tolitoli. After the presentation sessions, we had an interactive questions and answers session. Students were very active and asked many questions related to data collection, traceability, Fair Trade. Our favorite question was when they asked about the possibility about the future collaboration between Universitas Madako and MDPI! As a wrap up, we all played the “Sweet Sustainability Game” with the students, a simple yet useful way to simulate sustainable approaches to fisheries.

MDPI with students and lecturers of Universitas Madako. Photo credit: MDPI

Next on the list, Dule Village, three hours by car, to hold a Movie Night to increase community awareness about ocean ecosystems. In theory, conducting a movie night is not difficult because all we need is a computer, a movie, a projector and a screen. But in fact, conducting movie nights in remote areas with no stable electricity was a little bit challenging. Last year, our projector was burnt in Buru, Maluku and this time, the cable burned because of the unstable generator 🙂 However, we managed to fix the problems and conducted a movie night that was attended by around 60 people ranging from kids to adults.

Movie Night in Dule Village. Photo credit: MDPI

Next, the I-Fish Data Communication Cruiseship “Diskusi Santai tentang Ikan” and Fair Trade Committee meeting with fishermen from Salumpaga Village and Lingadan Village. There were 40 fishermen and 10 local stakeholders (industry, local government and Dinas Kelautan dan Perikanan/DKP) in attendance.

The I-Fish Data Communication Cruiseship is a data dissemination event specially built for fishermen to increase their understanding about data use and the importance of data. In this event, MDPI and fishermen also discussed about what data is needed or useful for fishermen. The discussion was opened by Indah presenting MDPI updates, followed by Nuri’s presentation about data. From the data discussion, fishermen asked MDPI to create other data analyzes which could show them the relationship between ice use and fish quality. We’ll be truthful when we say that we are always delighted when fishermen are actively involved in a discussion, moreover asking about other data they would like to receive! Other discussions included yellowfin tuna biology, which is when we realized that some fishermen don’t know the basics, even though they are out looking for these creatures every day. To fill in their curiosity about yellowfin tuna, Indah presented the poster about yellowfin tuna biology and they were really excited to know more about their favorite fish! Just like any sustainable fisheries discussions we conduct, we wrapped it up with “Sweet Sustainability Game” 🙂

Finally, the Fair Trade Committee meeting was a meeting to discuss about Fair Trade implementation with fishermen, including how to create a proposal to use Fair Trade premium fund and was led by Widi. Fishers Associations involved in the Fair Trade program and in efforts to meet the standards to achieve Fair Trade certification will receive Fair Trade premium fund paid by consumers who buy Fair Trade products. This premium fund will go to the account of the Fair Trade Committee and not into fishers’ personal pockets and will be used for community projects, including a 30% contribution to environmentally focused projects. The premium fund received by Fair Trade Committee in Tolitoli this time was Rp. 123,470,000 (around 9,298 USD).

Fair Trade Committee meeting in Tolitoli. Photo credit: MDPI

MDPI is glad to be a part of the fishing community in Tolitoli and hopefully we will continue to keep up the good work together with fishermen and related stakeholders.

Thank you Tolitoli for the welcome and we’ll be back soon! ? ?

Writer: Indah Rufiati


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