Hailing from Merauke in Indonesia (one of the ATSEA-2 main project sites), Hasnah is a prominent figure in her community. Her daily routine is a mixture of regular housewife duties, combined with the processing of fisheries-related products, especially those concerning snapper and mackerel.

Several years ago, her husband’s boat capsized in heavy seas. After that, he changed his livelihood from fishing to transport. Hasnah, however, has continued working in the home-scale fishing industry. In 2013, with the support of the Merauke Regency Fisheries Service, she formed Eltimo; a business group, known in local language as kelompok usaha bersama or KUB. The word Eltimo comes from the language of the Marind Tribe, which is an Indigenous group that continues to live in most areas around Merauke. It means “tasty food” and is generally used to complement delicious dishes. 

Once established, KUB Eltimo quickly became involved in training and exhibitions facilitated by the International Fund for Agricultural Development and Merauke District Fisheries Service. In 2017, they created their brand and logo, in a bid to improve the marketing of their products.

With full control of local fish production, KUB Eltimo is able to minimise the number of links in its supply chain and, as a result, can increase the added value of its fishery products. Raw materials are processed into various products that are popular commodities in local markets, such as crackers (amplang, kerupuk, pilus), fish balls (baso), fish cake (pempek), nuggets, shredded fish, and shrimp paste (terasi). The necessary skills and experience required for making these products is either self-taught or imparted through training sessions held by the government and NGOs. The courtyard of Ibu Hasnah’s house is currently used as a learning centre, where women in the community can learn together and develop collaborative networks for the production of fishery products.

KUB Eltimo also serves as an information hub for surrounding households. In several activities organised by ATSEA-2 in collaboration with Destructive Fishing Watch (DFW) Indonesia, Hasnah has been disseminating information related to the technical documents required for registering fishing vessels with KSOP (Port Authority and Harbourmaster Office), while also helping to profile the local social environment. By helping to mobilise women in outreach activities, she has significantly helped fishermen to run their operations more effectively and reach their targets. This also helps to bridge the information gap for men who spend a large amount of time at sea; in this manner, women can be a valuable source of information for their spouses.

KUB Eltimo has the potential to provide additional support in the implementation of ATSEA-2 Project in Merauke; they can be engaged in the Programme’s wider efforts to strengthen the capacity of local stakeholders in managing fisheries and other coastal and marine resources.

(By Dr. Handoko Adi Susanto)