So, January 2013 is here and the ball we call Project Momentum is beginning to roll. We’ve begun to work with students from University of Mataram to monitor the Tanjung Luar fishery, where they’ll not only log the number of tiger and bull sharks, but they’ll also get a good count on all the other large shark species and manta species that pass through the abattoir. Unfortunately, the smaller sharks are sold in heaped piles on the dirt outside the buildings and counting them would be very difficult for one person, so we must focus on the larger sharks. The students are also taking tissue DNA samples of the large sharks and mantas for future reference.
The educational program development is coming along well. It needs to be very carefully thought out as not to appear too scientific, too condescending, too constrictive, or too long. There is a very fine line we will be walking when presenting anything to do with shark and manta conservation to local fishing villages. Luckily, there are some other local organizations that have offered to help with translation into local dialect, which sometimes varies from village to village.
As westerners, we have this urge to want to come in and change things immediately, but waves cannot be made here, it is a very polite society that operates on many different levels and gestures and customs are even more important than words. The phrases “don’t do this” or “this is very bad” are rarely used. Even raised voice can end a friendship. As much as we want to hurry, we have to tread lightly “Pulan, pulan, topi posti” is an Indonesian phrase that means "slowly, but surely".