Whereas the coral reefs in and around Komodo National Park are threatened by
destructive fishing practices and over exploitation, the open waters around the
park still offer an opportunity to develop a sustainable fishery of pelagic fish
species. The pelagic fisheries project aims to result in income levels
competitive to other non-destructive small-scale fisheries in coastal
areas. It also hopes to serve as a vehicle for carriers of the
conservation message in awareness and constituency building programs.
Presently, the pelagic
fisheries in and around Komodo National Park are
focused on Loliginidae or squid (cumi cumi), which are caught by floating lift
nets (bagan perahu). This fishery also yields anchovies (Engraulidae, mainly Stolephorus
spp.) and small clupeids (Clupeidae, mainly Sprateloides
spp.). The continuation and protection of this traditional lift net fishery
is essential as the major economic alternative for local fishing communities.
A variety of pelagic fish
species, with high prices on remote markets, are promising for development.
These include Spanish mackerel, yellowfin tuna and skipjack. Smaller species, such as
anchovies (teri), sardines (lemuru, tembang), sprats, Indian mackerels (kembung)
and scads (layang, selar), may become important either for direct consumption or
as feed source for aquaculture
To enhance the
productivity of the area Fish Aggregating Devices (FAD), rafts anchored in the deep water
(1000-2000m depth) that attract pelagic fish from the surrounding areas, were installed.
However, diversification of fishing methods, gear types
(such as artificial and natural trolling lines) and target species is also necessary.
Efficient infrastructure for preservation, transport and post-harvest processing
needs to be developed in the area outside the Park. In addition, both fishermen
and consumers need to be educated on the importance of maintaining product
At present the pelagic
fisheries development program
together with local
fish traders, fishermen and expert contractors, is working to enhance the establishment of
the fisheries, and improve post harvest practices, fish processing techniques
and marketing of large pelagic fish. The program includes a training
program for fishermen where participants and their moneylenders (local traders)
sign an agreement to refrain from destructive fishing practices in the
future. Fishermen from different areas in Indonesia have been hired to teach a
variety of skills.
The training program
for fishing's post-harvest component covers a variety of techniques from fish
handling on the boats to fish processing on shore. Although a large portion of
the catch is destined for sale as a fresh chilled product, there is also
considerable potential for the production of other products. The program has
been training local fishing communities, including many women, to prepare these
products. Post-harvest techniques that have been included in the training
program include: pengasinan (dried salted fish), pindang (salt boiled fish),
ikan kayu (katsuobushi), dendeng (spiced dried fish), and ikan abon (a
fish-based product that is used as a spice). A variety of basic processing tools
were supplied. By introducing these 'new' high-quality products, fishing
communities have a better chance of increasing their income through pelagic
Though local communities mostly use the waters in the
Komodo area as a fishing ground, the area also offers excellent opportunity for
the culture of valuable aquatic organisms, such as seaweed and fish.
Presently, PKA and TNC are implementing a fish culture project in the Komodo
area. The project aims to establish an enterprise that supplies the life reef
fish trade with live grouper and other commercially important fish
species. The purpose of the project is two fold. Firstly, the fish
culture enterprise offers an alternative livelihood for fisherman in and around
the park. Secondly, the development
of full circle aquaculture
high quality food fish will provide an alternative to wild capture with cyanide
the live reef fish trade. This move will contribute to the
market transformation of the live reef fish trade from unsustainable capture
base to sustainable culture based.
a great deal of technical training, especially when including reproduction and
rearing of larvae. The expertise for on-farm reproduction of marine animals is
presently not available in the Park area, except perhaps at a single pearl
oyster company, which is operating near Labuan Bajo.
outside the Park can supply fingerlings for grow-out to community-based grow-out
enterprises, which are low-tech and low-investment activities and are therefore
ideal alternative livelihoods for local communities (which, for the most part, already have
the experience of raising wild-caught fish in sea cages). The hatcheries
themselves are moderate- to high-tech and relatively high investment activities. A few good examples
need to be established, but more investment is needed before this practice
can take off on a larger scale. In the long term a considerable part of the
market could be supplied with high quality food fish from full-circle
aquaculture. The Komodo area is ideal for grow-out in
terms of production costs, environmental factors and space.
A thriving mariculture
industry will increase the standard of living for
the villagers in the vicinity in a sustainable manner.
The program should
focus on sea-bass (Lates calcarifer)
to start, a highly prized food fish for which economic feasibility of
already been proven throughout south-east Asia and Australia.
The program will also
work with several species of grouper, such as the estuary grouper and the tiger grouper, which are successfully cultured in Taiwan and in a few other
countries. Try-outs will also be done with mouse grouper, which is the most highly prized grouper in the live reef fish trade,
and which has been successfully reproduced and raised by the Gondol
Research Center for Coastal Fisheries in Bali. All the above
species occur naturally in the Komodo area and brood-stock has already been
With the expertise and practical experience of
partners, the hatchery
be well managed and show the feasibility of fingerling production for one or
more species within three years. The hatchery will also serve as a training
ground for local staff.
fingerlings in the Komodo area are expected to be much cheaper than in many other
areas due to ideal environmental circumstances, low cost of labor, and the large
and cheap supply of small clupeid fishes which are ideal as feed for the
cultured species. A pilot survey was conducted in areas surrounding Komodo
National Parks by mariculture
in November 1996. The pilot study revealed that the area is extremely suitable
for mariculture development. Constraints are mainly expected in the field of
Seaweed production is
a potentially rewarding activity for fishermen in the Komodo area. Many
potential participants have already indicated their interest in
when they were interviewed in 1997. Some communities have already requested
permits for seaweed culture from the Park authorities and are
already engaged in rudimentary operations.
A pilot study and assessment on the seaweed- and seagrass-resources in the Komodo area carried out
by The Nature Conservancy in May 1988 identified 8 seagrass species and 43
seaweeds. In general, the plant habitats were relatively healthy and showed very
high diversities. This pilot study revealed that some use of seaweed resources
was already taking place, but not in an efficient sustainable manner. The pilot
study concluded that there is a high potential for the development of seaweed-
and seagrass-based economic activities.
A training program
will be given to local fishermen, teaching them the basic skills of sustainable
farming. Expert fishermen and seaweed farmers (e.g., from Bali
and Lombok) will be hired to teach local villagers a variety of skills, and
expert consultants (e.g., from the Philippines) will be contracted to manage the