Friday, October 5, 2012

Manta trade in Keruak/Pringgabaya area

From time and research in the Keruak/Pringgabaya area - East Lombok area we interviewed a dozen plus small boat fisherman (often in groups), The fisherman get less than a Juta and up to 2 juta for these magnificent creatures, US60 to $200 - they did not know of any Chinese buyers buying the Gill plates, but I am sure they are around.
The fisherman I talked with said most of the sales were made from selling the meat 'satay style' on a stick and sold cooked or un cooked for 7 -20,000 Raphia per stick. (it tasted OK)
As I understand it, we must remember they are not breaking the law in Indonesia, just destroying the possibility of a very lucrative and sustainable dive industry market and loss of a species to their region. Interesting was that all the fisherman I spoke to were against and killing Manta. And that it was the newer - bigger fishing boats that threw nets over them when they saw them. Nobody was hunting or targeting them it was just an opportunity catch which pretty much converted to cigarets. In time it will be protected by law (often too late) but it is possible for local soft laws to be established driven by common sense, and discussion about income for the future, a big job but doable.
Ideas: Inspire local leaders with common sense and pay them small money to help them close down the growing Manta trade. I think the whole of South Lombok could be done for less than $4,000 per year. (You may only need to do it for 4 or 5 years until the new rules stuck and dive company or two starts up. This will work as it is how many things get changed (including Governments)
but it will take a hard to find local to do this, the right man will be able to do this with passion and very little money. There are still a lot of Manta here and they are taking at least 3 per week, many sharks and interesting around 2 marlin per week, also in season there are whales, orca.The villagers of one region have a whale stranding per year, they are keen to help it too freedom but often struggle to do so. I have it on 'my to do list' but maybe someone could write to Project Joana and ask fo a whale stretcher?

Bringing a Mobula japanica to shore. There were 6 in total today.