Sea Delight Representatives Attend WWF/EDF Fisheries Science Workshop

April 15-17, Bogor, Indonesia –  Fishery science and management experts from the US-based Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and Indonesian Government Fishery Researchers were brought together by WWF Indonesia to present a Fishery Science Workshop in this scenic hill town near Jakarta.

The emphasis of the workshop was on practical training on assessing data-poor or data-limited fisheries and how to use existing limited data to begin extracting management guidance.

The workshop featured presentations by EDF fishery management science expert Dr. Rod Fujita, EDF data analysis expert and experienced onboard fisheries observer Todd Gedamke and Indonesia National Commission on Fish Stock Assessment Leader Abdul Gohofar.

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Dr. Rod Fujita opens the Workshop by discussing objectives such as learning how to access limited data fisheries

The most important lessons learned by the Sea Delight team were directly relevant to the work Sea Delight is doing in Fishery Improvement Projects with WWF Indonesia Seafood Savers. These lessons learned included:

  • Beginning assessment of a fishery by looking at the effect it has on the overall ecosystem and the fishing community.
  • Using information form the fishing community and the academic community to get background information on the fishery.
  • Using diving or fishing transact techniques in Marine Protected Areas and open areas of the fishery to compare environmental impact and fish stocks.
  • Establishing data collection systems that record Catch Per Unit Effort (CPUE) ideally in recording the number of hours each fish hook was in the water or at least the number of people and fishing days per trip (Sea Delight is involved in hook and line fisheries only in Indonesia).
  • Establishing data collection systems that account for 100% of the mortality of the species being assessed, including natural mortality, fish discarded at sea or otherwise not included in onboard or port landings. This is important even if part of the 100% must be estimated.
  • Collecting important biological data on as high a percentage of the landings as possible. Such data should include length measurements and state of sexual maturity records. If possible biological samples that can tell the age of fish sampled such as otoliths (bones from the ear of boney fish species) can add value to length and maturity data.

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EDF’s Todd Gedamke discussing scientific fishery management

The presentations also covered how to use MS Excel and MS Access to compile, analyze and compute data to be used by managers for guidance in developing management plans. Sea Delight’s new Fishery Improvement Project Assistant, Ms. Petronella Padja worked with the EDF experts and WWF Indonesia Seafood Savers representatives to begin to learn how to use these software tools on data Sea Delight is already collecting in the Indonesia FIP’s.

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Sea Delight Manager Asia Pacific, Stephen Fisher, and new FIP Assistant Petronella “Mea” Padja during the Breakout Group session

The Workshop then went on to use real examples of pilot data collection projects in Indonesia as models for training. The Sea Delight/Seafood Savers mixed bottomfish FIP in Central Sulawesi was selected because it has already been running EDF based data collection systems for 3 months prior to the workshop.

With only those 3 months of Port Landing, Length Frequency and State of Maturity data EDF’s Todd Gedamke was able to walk the participants in his breakout group to reaching a surprising level of detailed data on just one of the 14 species of bottomfish in the FIP. This length and maturity data showed a significant percentage of the catch was either under or over length at first maturity and oddly that very few fish at the range of expected length at first maturity were being caught at all.

Now EDF and WWF Seafood Savers have selected the Central Sulawesi FIP as the pilot project for implementing the techniques learned at the workshop. As this project progresses Sea Delight will continue reporting.