|Date||4 Nov 2016|
The Dorsal Effect (TDE) was started in 2013 to provide an alternative, more sustainable source of income to shark fishermen in Lombok, Indonesia who catch sharks for the shark fin trade. It’s well known that shark populations around the world are crashing, and it’s important that we tackle this issue – but it’s also important to care for the people who may be impacted as we protect biodiversity. That’s what we focus on doing.
We asked some of the shark fishermen at our project site – Tanjung Luar Fish Market – what it would take for them to stop catching sharks. They said they would prefer an alternative livelihood that involved the marine environment as their skill set and knowledge of the seas are vast…and so eco-tours where they take tourists to see Lombok’s coral reefs in their own boats, began. Some of these sites weren’t even on google maps or in Lonely Planet – it was the fishermen-turned-eco-tour guides sharing these secret reefs with tourists. To date, we have engaged 6 shark fishermen. They are wonderfully warm people. There are of course many more still catching sharks at Tanjung Luar Fish Market, but we have to start somewhere.
The Dorsal Effect also tackles the demand side of shark fishing by engaging the public in educational trips. To date our main guests are from Singapore – a country with very high shark fin soup consumption. Our guests visit the shark market to see the shark landings themselves, and then go snorkeling with the fishermen we have engaged who, instead of catching sharks that day are awaiting their arrival with their eco-tour boats. We don’t just educate our guests about sharks however, but rather about the marine environment in general, the threats towards it, and what they can do to help preserve it.
The Dorsal Effect continues to take day tourists and groups on a meaningful experience that opens their eyes and minds whilst providing an alternative livelihood for shark fishermen. We link up with various people and local groups to develop knowledge and understanding about the state of conservation and biodiversity in the area so we know how best to operate, and plan for the future.
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