Almost a year has passed since COVID-19 was declared in Indonesia. All aspects of life are affected, requiring every human being to adapt to a new normal situation. The Indonesian fishing industry is one of the worst affected, the lives of fishermen have changed drastically, including fishermen on the island of Bali. Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) in collaboration with Photovoices International (PVI) supports a number of fishermen and women engaged in the fishing industry in Les Villages and Pemaron Villages, Buleleng Regency, North Bali, documenting their lives through Photovoices activities that took place during October 2020 -January 2021. With cameras in hand, they capture everyday life during the pandemic.
Since October 2020, 11 participants of the Photovoices program consisting of fishermen who are members of the CODRS (Crew Operated Data Recording System) program or fisheries data recording system, along with their wives and colleagues are facilitated to capture their daily moments and their environment. Through a learning process facilitated by PVI and YKAN, a collection of photos and stories of the impact of COVID-19 on the lives of fishermen and women working in the fisheries sector were obtained.
“These photos were taken by the participants of the Photovoices program to describe their daily lives and the problems they face, especially during this pandemic. Every week they meet to critically discuss these problems, as well as solutions to overcome them, either on their own or with the help of policy makers,” said Tri Soekirman, Executive Director of Photovoices International.
Kadek Agus Cahyadi, one of the Photovoices participants, took a photo at Penimbangan Beach, Dusun Dauh Margi, Pemaron Village. Rows of boats can be seen fenced off the shoreline. Before the pandemic, after being used for fishing, these boats were usually used to take visitors to see dolphins. “In a day, fishing boats sometimes get 2 trips to take guests to see dolphins. Penimbangan Beach is crowded, people's income is very good. Food stalls, jinggo rice sellers, coffee shops, stalls, and street vendors are constantly serving guests who buy their wares. Now, fishing boats are only parked on the beach, some of them are even raised to the mainland, because there is no hope for guests to come,” he said.
“Since the pandemic, the small-scale fishing industry in Indonesia has faced great pressure. The selling price of large-sized tuna fell sharply. Before the pandemic it was around Rp. 30,000-35,000 per kilogram, during the pandemic it dropped drastically to Rp. 15,000-18,000 per kilogram. However, now it has improved at the price of Rp. 25,000 per kilogram. Meanwhile, the price of juvenile tuna (not yet spawned) tends to be stable at Rp. 18,000-23,000 per kilogram,” explained Peter Mous, Director of the YKAN Fisheries Program.
Many requests from fish buyers were cancelled, so many fishing boat owners stopped operating, and even sold their boats to make a living. This forces fishermen and women in the fisheries sector to adapt by doing work outside of their daily livelihoods. Some fishermen's wives, for example, seek additional sources of income by being creative in selling processed foods made from fish, such as satay and others online.
The decline in income from fishing and taking tourists has forced women to find ways to continue to support their families. As illustrated in the photo taken by Ketut Milantini, from Les Village. She took a picture of a woman fish worker named Luh Parse (35 years old), who is also a member of the group of women working fish jujung fish “Sekar Sari” which consists of 15 people. The fish jujung workers are usually tasked with waiting for the boat that brings the unloaded fish to the beach in the village of Sumatran, Les Village. The fishermen's unloaded fish are brought by the women to the collectors to be weighed. After completing their tasks, the women workers will gather at the collector's kiosk to receive a wage of Rp. 50,000 per person, also some fish to take home and cook at home. The wages of upholding fish can help the family economy of the women of the Sekar Sari group, even if only a little.
The participants from Les Village have presented their photos and stories to the Les Village Head. On this occasion, they also expressed their hope of getting assistance with FAD facilities and outboard engines, assistance in improving the economy of fishermen's families by raising livestock, as well as increasing the number of fishing families who received social assistance due to Covid-19 - so that there would be more than 7 families. The village head of Les responded positively, although the hope of the participants could only be realized in the 2022 Fiscal Year. An open dialogue with the village head is expected to continue. Meanwhile for Pemaron Village, the presentation to the village head has not yet been carried out because the village is still in a state of strict social restrictions.
Supporting each other among coastal communities can be a strategy in helping fishermen adapt in these difficult times. The pandemic period is also a momentum to remind the government of the importance of the government's role in ensuring the survival of its people, both through certainty of knowledge and information related to the COVID-19 pandemic, policy packages in multi-sectors, both the health and non-health sectors, and social and institutional support, in particular for vulnerable groups such as fishermen.
Tentang Photovoices International
Photovoices International adalah organisasi nirlaba yang bekerja untuk memberdayakan masyarakat yang kurang terwakili untuk mengartikulasikan perspektif mereka dan meraih kehidupan yang lebih baik. Hal ini kami lakukan dengan melibatkan dan melatih anggota masyarakat untuk menggunakan visual dan cerita untuk mempengaruhi orang dan kebijakan, serta beradvokasi untuk perubahan positif. Untuk keterangan lebih lanjut kunjungi www.photovoicesinternational.org.
Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) is a scientific-based non-profit organization that has been present in Indonesia since 2014. With the mission of protecting lands and waters as life support systems, we provide innovative solutions to realize the harmony of nature and humans through effective natural resource management, prioritizing a non-confrontational approach, and building a network of partnerships with all stakeholders for a sustainable Indonesia. For more information, visit ykan.or.id.