Article: An interview with Made Partiana from Les An interview with BliEka, fisherman and environmentalist. The coastal village of Les lies about 31 kilometers east of Singaraja. The majority of the population makes a living from selling fish. The fishermen of the village of Les are known for their environmentally friendly way of fishing and they are very happy to take visitors on an underwater tour to show the beautiful reefs, rich of fish and what action they are taking to maintain ecological balance Besides catching fish for consumption the core business of the village has been around catching ornamental fish. Today the reefs look healthy and there is plenty of fish but the situation around the coast of Les was not always what it is today and it took a lot of talking and action to create the mind change that was necessary to change things around. Some years back one of the Lovina Pages reporters travelled to Les after learning the village was developing changes in the, before destructive, way they were catching the ornamental fish, hoping that by publishing about it other villages might follow this example. He met with the people behind the initiative of fishing with ………..nets instead of using potassium to sedate fish. This way of fishing for ornamental fish has been accustomed in the whole north Bali area but the fast downfall of the ecosystems started in 1980’s when demand for ornamental fish started to grow extensively. Within ten years the ecological balance was so disturbed that coral reefs had been detoriated and the there was no ornamental fish around anymore. Local fishermen expanded their search for ornamental fish to open sea and sailed to Lombok, Bima, Flores, Sumba and Alor and even went as far as South Sulawesi. A trip could take weeks.” But the times were changing and there was more and more implementation on laws regarding fishing without disturbing the ecological balance and fishermen were arrested and spent time in jail for offends made. Those jail terms were no joke and could be up to 8 months detention.
In the village of Les the change came when in the year 2000 some undercover maritime officials came to the village and spent weeks keeping an eye on the fishermen. They played a role of being buyers, coming back every day with questions. Although the fishing community had learned over the years not to give away any information on the fact that they were using chemicals in order to be able to catch our ornamental fish, the officials still got the information they needed in order to confront the village with the fact it was working on the destruction of it’s own ecological damage and they proposed help in changing things.. They started working with a so called ‘LSM’ (Lembagaswadayamasyarakat), which is an underwater environmentalist who keeps an eye on malpractices and who advises people in finding solutions to catch ornamental fish without using chemicals, so to fish without damaging the marine eco systems. Using potassium was no longer practiced and on the 29th of September 2002 the fishermen of Les formed an organization which was named the ‘Mina Bhakti Soansari fishermen association’ an organization working on learning how to catch fish using environmental friendly fishing nets also we actively repairmen of the the damaged coral reefs with coral transplantations. Beaches were cleaned and reefs were cleaned up by regular ‘beach-reef clean ups’”.
In 2012, the former fishermen’s organization ‘Bhakti Soansari Mina’ was terminated and mad place for a new organization named ‘ Bhakti Segara Lestari’ which has a growing number of members, all people from our local fishermen community. The village has have expanded its way of making a living from their natural resources. After restoring and keeping the balance it is now finding ways to make a living in a more diverse way from what the ocean is offering, not fishing only but also like acting as underwater tour guides. A new development in the area of Les is the founding of a foundation called ‘LINI’, Aquaculture and Training center, a center just built off the coast of the village. The purpose of the center is to provide more guidance for the fishermen in the village itself but also the wider area around the village. This has quickly leaded to new development within the ornamental fishing industry. New initiatives are no longer focused on catching the fish in the wild but into setting up breeding programs to ‘produce’ fish. The fish is not only used to sell on the market but also to be put back into the ocean to help the fish population grow again. Our reporter travelled to the Les once ore to talk to the people behind this new initiative. They are from mixed cultural background, local and also from abroad. Made Partiana, the local initiative taker explained how he, together with Alex and Derect, two experts in fish breeding from Australia came to develop this idea. Made Partiana explains; We have been working on this program c since mid-2015.
We are still very much in the process of researching the possibilities but what we aim foris cultivation a wide range of fish types in the future. Today we focus on breeding‘Banggai’ a fish native to South Sulawesi. Breeding Banggai has proved a success. From fish we also will breed shrimps and so called ‘ornamental reef species’. It is a painstaking process to come to successful marine life breeding. The water in the tanks must be sterile and have a balanced water value at all times. Balanced water values are around; pH 83 and the ammonia content should reach 1,021-1,022. The filtration process also has the contents of coral-eating bacteria and that is why the sterile water is important. The Banggaibreeding has proved to be successful. We produce eggs within twenty eight to thirty days and baby fish as many as twenty to forty per batch. The eggs will be resting insidethe male fish’s mouth until the eggs hatch. We feed the fish Artenia for the best result. Our foundation was inaugurated on April seven of this year by the department of Marine and Fisheries Buleleng. Our goal is managing our marine products better so we can all benefit from it, for still a long time to come!