Indonesian fish farmers get early-warning system for lake pollution

first_imgAquaculture, Environment, Environmental Policy, Fish, Fish Farming, Fisheries, Fishing, Freshwater Ecosystems, Freshwater Fish, Governance, Lakes, Pollution, Water, Water Pollution In the wake of the latest mass fish death in Indonesia’s Lake Toba, in northern Sumatra, the government has published a predictive calendar that gives fish farmers early warning of dire water conditions.The tool, available online and in printed form, ranks conditions on a progressive scale running from “safe” to “alert” to “dangerous.”In addition to the calendar, the government has also recommended other solutions, including the growing of water hyacinths to absorb pollutants in the lake, and reforestation efforts in the area. JAKARTA — Officials in Indonesia have released a predictive calendar they hope will give fish farmers in the country’s largest lake a heads-up on water conditions that have previously killed off fish by the millions.The issuance of the calendar on Sept. 13, online and in print, comes in the wake of the death of millions of fish last month in Toba, a lake inside a volcanic crater in northern Sumatra. The lake experienced a similar phenomenon in 2016.Researchers have attributed the mass die-offs to a sudden depletion of oxygen in the water due to a buildup of pollutants from aquaculture, agricultural runoff, and sewage from hotels and houses. Unfavorable weather conditions and unsustainable practices by local fish farmers have also been cited as factors.The new calendar is meant to notify fish farmers about the lake’s condition using a progressive scale running from safe to alert to dangerous, based on previous field assessments of the area.Workers haul in thousands of dead fish on the shore of Lake Toba. Image by Ayat S. Karokaro for Mongabay.A “safe” rating means fish farming can proceed as normal, while an “alert” rating means the farmers have to reduce their use of fish feed. Uneaten fish feed and feces from the fish pens fuel a process called eutrophication, in which the water becomes excessively rich in nutrients. This nutrient loading can induce oxygen-devouring algal blooms that suffocate fish, as is thought to have happened in 2016. Under “alert” conditions, fish farmers are asked to reduce stocking density in the floating cages and pay attention to the changes in the water. They are also advised to harvest earlier.A “dangerous” rating indicates the lake’s water temperature is low and the dissolved oxygen is less than 3 milligrams per liter, so fish may suffocate. The weather during this period will mostly be intense rainy and windy. Under such conditions, the farmers are advised to harvest fish that are ready for harvesting, pause their farming activities, and attend to fish that can survive low water quality. They are also expected to carry out aeration — a practice to bring water and air in close contact in order to remove dissolved gasses — and relocate some of the floating cages to deeper parts of the lake.“This predictive calendar and management scheme can increase the awareness of fish farmers and policymakers so that they won’t take mass fish die-offs lightly,” Sjarief Widjaja, head of capture fisheries at the national fisheries ministry, told reporters in Jakarta.Spanning 1,130 square kilometers (440 square miles), Lake Toba produces an estimated 76,000 metric tons of aquaculture products a year, much of it from local farmers. Two companies — Swiss-owned PT Aquafarm Nusantara and PT Suri Tani Pemuka, an arm of Singapore-listed Japfa Group — also cultivate tilapia in the lake and export fillets internationally, including to the United States and Europe. PT Aquafarm Nusantara, responsible for 40,000 tons of production in 2015, has received backlash for dumping waste into the lake.Haranggaol Bay, the lake’s second-largest source of farmed fish, has long been a pollution concern because of the high concentration of fish farms there. Where in 2005 the village had 854 floating pens, today there are more than 6,000. And that explosion, while a boon to the local economy, has come at a cost, particularly to the lake’s health.The government has long struggled to curb the rise of unregulated community fish farms. The campaign against fish farming also ramped up after President Joko Widodo announced a plan to turn Toba into a major tourist destination along the lines of a “Monaco of Asia.” In 2014, he signed an order stipulating that aquaculture would only be allowed in one district, Toba Samosir.Local governments have since attempted to carry out the mandate. In July 2016, Simalungun district, which covers Haranggaol, dispatched military and police officers to dismantle cages in Sualan village, about 70 kilometers south of Haranggaol.But for many landless residents, fish farming is their only dependable source of income. Many fund their businesses with bank loans. Losing or severely reducing aquaculture would not only disrupt their income, but also leave them with massive debts. The recent mass fish die-offs have also cost the fish farmers billions of rupiah.After pleas from local fish farmers, the government agreed to postpone the eviction. Instead, the seven districts on the lake and the provincial government agreed on new zoning regulations, while asking the farmers to adhere to stricter environmental standards.A carpet of dead fish in one of the floating net cages in Lake Toba. Image by Ayat S. Karokaro for Mongabay.In addition to releasing the predictive calendar, the government has recommended the planting of water hyacinths (Eichhornia crassipes), a free-floating aquatic plant known to reduce heavy metals and pesticide residues in waters where it grows.“Water hyacinth roots are natural filters for polluted water from various industry-manufactured chemicals,” said Toni Ruchimat, the fisheries ministry’s head of research.Officials have also advised the fish farmers to adopt other tools developed by the ministry, including Buoy Pluto, an early-warning pollution-monitoring system, and KJA SMART, a series of floating net cages with built-in systems to handle organic pollutants.In a bid to achieve environmental sustainability in Lake Toba, the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs, which oversees the fisheries ministry, has launched a research initiative involving the World Bank, the state-funded Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), and state-owned water company Perum Jasa Tirta. The local governments with authority over the area are expected to apply the research findings.“One of the recommendations from the researchers is to conserve the forests [around the lake] as there’s continuous tree cutting upstream,” said Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the coordinating minister of maritime affairs.The coordinating ministry has also recommended that a reforestation program be undertaken in the area around Lake Toba.Luhut said one of the key problems in Lake Toba was the high density of fish farmers. He cited research from LIPI that indicated the lake could sustainably accommodate at most 1,925 floating cages. Companies operating in the area have been asked to reduce their number of cages by 70 percent.“LIPI has said that Lake Toba requires 75 years to clean itself, but that process will never be achieved if the lake continues to be contaminated,” Luhut said.Fish farmers pile up dead fish on the shore of Lake Toba. Image by Ayat S. Karokaro for Mongabay.The story was reported by Mongabay’s Indonesia team and was first published on our Indonesian site on Sept. 14, 2018.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. Popular in the CommunitySponsoredSponsoredOrangutan found tortured and decapitated prompts Indonesia probeEMGIES17 Jan, 2018We will never know the full extent of what this poor Orangutan went through before he died, the same must be done to this evil perpetrator(s) they don’t deserve the air that they breathe this has truly upset me and I wonder for the future for these wonderful creatures. So called ‘Mankind’ has a lot to answer for we are the only ones ruining this world I prefer animals to humans any day of the week.What makes community ecotourism succeed? In Madagascar, location, location, locationScissors1dOther countries should also learn and try to incorporateWhy you should care about the current wave of mass extinctions (commentary)Processor1 DecAfter all, there is no infinite anything in the whole galaxy!Infinite stupidity, right here on earth.The wildlife trade threatens people and animals alike (commentary)Anchor3dUnfortunately I feel The Chinese have no compassion for any living animal. They are a cruel country that as we knowneatbeverything that moves and do not humanily kill these poor animals and insects. They have no health and safety on their markets and they then contract these diseases. Maybe its karma maybe they should look at the way they live and stop using animals for all there so called remedies. DisgustingConservationists welcome China’s wildlife trade banThobolo27 JanChina has consistently been the worlds worst, “ Face of Evil “ in regards our planets flora and fauna survival. In some ways, this is nature trying to fight back. This ban is great, but the rest of the world just cannot allow it to be temporary, because history has demonstrated that once this coronavirus passes, they will in all likelihood, simply revert to been the planets worst Ecco Terrorists. Let’s simply not allow this to happen! How and why they have been able to degrade this planets iconic species, rape the planets rivers, oceans and forests, with apparent impunity, is just mind boggling! Please no more.Probing rural poachers in Africa: Why do they poach?Carrot3dOne day I feel like animals will be more scarce, and I agree with one of my friends, they said that poaching will take over the world, but I also hope notUpset about Amazon fires last year? Focus on deforestation this year (commentary)Bullhorn4dLies and more leisSponsoredSponsoredCoke is again the biggest culprit behind plastic waste in the PhilippinesGrapes7 NovOnce again the article blames companies for the actions of individuals. It is individuals that buy these products, it is individuals that dispose of them improperly. If we want to change it, we have to change, not just create bad guys to blame.Brazilian response to Bolsonaro policies and Amazon fires growsCar4 SepThank you for this excellent report. I feel overwhelmed by the ecocidal intent of the Bolsonaro government in the name of ‘developing’ their ‘God-given’ resources.U.S. allocates first of $30M in grants for forest conservation in SumatraPlanet4dcarrot hella thick ;)Melting Arctic sea ice may be altering winds, weather at equator: studyleftylarry30 JanThe Arctic sea ice seems to be recovering this winter as per the last 10-12 years, good news.Malaysia has the world’s highest deforestation rate, reveals Google forest mapBone27 Sep, 2018Who you’re trying to fool with selective data revelation?You can’t hide the truth if you show historical deforestation for all countries, especially in Europe from 1800s to this day. WorldBank has a good wholesome data on this.Mass tree planting along India’s Cauvery River has scientists worriedSurendra Nekkanti23 JanHi Mongabay. Good effort trying to be objective in this article. I would like to give a constructive feedback which could help in clearing things up.1. It is mentioned that planting trees in village common lands will have negative affects socially and ecologically. There is no need to even have to agree or disagree with it, because, you also mentioned the fact that Cauvery Calling aims to plant trees only in the private lands of the farmers. So, plantation in the common lands doesn’t come into the picture.2.I don’t see that the ecologists are totally against this project, but just they they have some concerns, mainly in terms of what species of trees will be planted. And because there was no direct communication between the ecologists and Isha Foundation, it was not possible for them to address the concerns. As you seem to have spoken with an Isha spokesperson, if you could connect the concerned parties, it would be great, because I see that the ecologists are genuinely interested in making sure things are done the right way.May we all come together and make things happen.Rare Amazon bush dogs caught on camera in BoliviaCarrot1 Feba very good iniciative to be fallowed by the ranchers all overSponsoredcenter_img Article published by Basten Gokkonlast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *