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- Delphine Robbe
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Divers the world over love Indonesia and many come specifically to see the large fish species that inhabit the amazing marine ecosystems throughout the country, yet sharks and manta rays continue to be fished as the demand for shark fins and manta ray gills is rapidly escalating!
Focusing on one of the primary shark/manta markets in Indonesia: Tanjung Luar, Lombok, where exploratory trips revealed much of the shark/ray catch as IUCN listed as Vulnerable or Threatened, this project entails data collection on all species of sharks and rays caught, but specifically bull and tiger sharks and both giant and reef manta rays (all unprotected keystone species). We’ll also assess fishermen’s earnings, where they fish, and their methods., along with the economic network that extends from catch to consumer. Photographers will collect powerful land and underwater imagery along with statistical data to be used in a short documentary for local communities, marine conservation associations and dive associated businesses to educate people about the unregulated depletion of these critical species.
Since raising awareness/education are among primary objectives, we will create materials and conduct presentations in Bali and Lombok (and further afield as funds permit) explaining the short and long-term impacts of current destructive practices and suggest detailed alternative income solutions for fishermen and boat owners, such as creating a marine ecotourism industry in which the presence (and growth) of shark and manta populations could be utilized as sustainable entities with more holistic community benefits.
Lastly, we’ll submit statistical findings (from monitoring the Tanjung Luar fishery, as well as results from local village post–presentation surveys) to the key government officials providing them with accurate information which will enable them to make the fact-based decision that it is in Indonesia’s best interest to protect tiger sharks, bull sharks, giant and reef manta rays.