In a remarkable transformation, ex-shark fishermen on Indonesia’s Lombok Island are now pioneering environmental protectors, thanks to The Dorsal Effect. Spearheaded by shark conservationist Kathy Xu and local fisherman Suhardi, this eco-enterprise is changing the game in marine conservation.
Source: Sky TV/YouTube
Turning the Tide: From Hunting to Conserving
Suhardi, a former shark fisherman, and his crew, once part of a thriving shark finning industry, are now guiding snorkeling trips and educating the next generation about marine preservation.
Their journey began in 2013 when Xu met these fishermen and learned about their struggles: low pay, high risks, and a diminishing shark population.
Realizing that they didn’t want to leave the sea, their livelihood, Xu came up with a transformative idea.
The Dorsal Effect: A New Beginning
The Dorsal Effect provides an alternative income for these fishermen, turning them into eco-tour operators.
They lead tourists and students through Lombok’s vibrant coral reefs, home to about 80 shark species.
Their tours include snorkeling, coral health checks, and beach trash cleanups, creating a unique blend of adventure and education.
Educational Impact: Engaging the Youth
The initiative extends to schools, with The Dorsal Effect creating a five-day program for students.
These programs include field surveys, interactions with the fishermen, and visits to the Tanjung Luar fish market, where the harsh realities of the shark trade are laid bare.
Through these experiences, students gain a profound understanding of marine Conservation challenges and the importance of sustainable practices.
Challenges and Triumphs
Despite challenges like natural disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic, The Dorsal Effect has persisted, continually supporting the former shark fishermen.
Their success is a beacon of hope, showing that with the right Support and opportunities, communities can pivot from exploitation to Conservation.
A Ripple of Change
The story of Lombok’s former shark fishermen is more than just a tale of environmental stewardship; it’s a testament to the power of sustainable alternatives in transforming lives and ecosystems.
As The Dorsal Effect continues to make waves, it inspires us all to think about how our actions can positively impact the world around us.
This article by Nicholas Vincent was first published by One Green Planet on 18 December 2023. Image Credit :Ramon Carretero/Shutterstock.
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