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Life & Time of Sama-Bajau Fishers

August 12 2018
sea

For the next year, I will be living and fishing with the Sama-Bajau sea peoples in the Banggai Archipelago, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. These fishers are renowned for their traditionally nomadic lifestyles, living only in boats, and their incredible freediving abilities. However, the fishers I will be working with have been settled in stilt houses over the water for several generations now. How is this affecting their perception of time, which has historically, as with other nomadic groups, been present-focused? Is it now shifting to a future-oriented perspective as they become more permanently settled? How does their perception of time influence their fishing practices?


These are the questions I seek to answer during my time in the field to understand why marine conservation efforts in areas with Sama-Bajau fishers have had relatively little success and why use of destructive practices, like cyanide and dynamite, are still widely-used. These fishers are both subsistence, fishing for their own consumption and dietary needs, as well as small-scale, selling to local and international markets via the aquarium fish trade (e.g. blue tang, emperor angelfish, etc.) and live food fish (e.g. grouper and coral trout). Therefore, it is critical to understand their decision-making processes, daily motivations, and how they relate to their environment on a philosophical level in order to understand how marine conservation efforts that involve the Sama-Bajau might be more fair and effective moving forward.

August 12 2018

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Preparation Stage

The Epic Visa Marathon


Now I share with you my biggest adventure with this project to date—obtaining the research permit and visa! It’s a harrowing process to which I know many of my fellow researchers (and others living and working abroad) can relate. I want to provide a practical guide for anyone looking to tackle the process so it can hopefully save a few of you some time and grief!

I began this process in early September 2017, and completed it just now (by mid-September 2018). So it took over a year, and my experience was fairly streamlined, all things considered. First, I had to get together numerous documents, many of which required coordinating with partners in Indonesia.

Items to Wrangle

  • Proposal Abstract
  • Research Proposal
  • Current Curriculum Vitae
  • Complete Equipment List
  • Letter of Request to do Research
  • Three Letters of Recommendation
  • Passport Photo with Red Background (weird, I know!)
  • Proof of Funding (which included a Funding Report & Bank Statement)
  • MOU between Stanford and University of Hasanuddin (UNHAS—my Counterpart based in Makassar, South Sulawesi)
  • Curriculum Vitae of Sponsoring Professor from UNHAS
  • Letter of Support from UNHAS

Initially when I began the process, I got lost in a maze of ministry websites. Each pointed to the other saying I needed some key item from the other ministry before I could apply in their system--it was an endless loop that made me dizzy trying to navigate. I followed the procedure as I understood it and heard nothing back for several weeks. Finally, feeling like my pre-application (of sorts) was lost in the bureaucratic ether, I took a colleague’s recommendation to hire an agent.

IF YOU ARE GOING TO APPLY FOR A RESEARCH VISA IN INDONESIA USE AN AGENT!

I had the best experience with the one I used—LAHUKA! They help secure permits and visas for research, film projects, and other expeditions. They assisted with every step of the process: 1) coordinating with Indonesia’s Ministry of Technology Research and Higher Education Republic of Indonesia a.k.a RISTEK to help push my application through the review process and get it approved; 2) communicating with the Indonesian Embassy in Singapore to issue the visa; 3) picking me up in Jakarta to take me to the RISTEK offices and procure all of the official letters, ID cards, etc.; and 4) mailing necessary letters to the local government and police at my field site). They did all of this for only $150 USD (which was in addition to all of the government fees listed below). A steal if you ask me!

The Play-by-Play

I did this after I had hired LAHUKA to help, because they informed me that one of the “required” items listed on the site (which was a letter of support from the local embassy I thought I had to get before I applied to RISTEK), was not actually required—ahhh, of course?!?)

  • Established connection with university partner (Sept 2017)

An NGO contact helped facilitate this step (more on my collaborators in a later post, because they’re phenomenal and deserve a whole post of their own!)

  • Drafted MOU

This took a while and a lot of back-and-forth, as my university supplied a template that didn’t align with past ones UNHAS had used, so we went through several iterations and then had to obtain all the necessary signatures from advisors and deans at both schools.

  • Obtained Official Letter of Support from UNHAS

This also took a while due to several iterations and obtaining signatures.

  • Applied for numerous grants

Currently the project is primarily and generously funded by an Early Career Grant from Nat Geo and my PhD program at Stanford. I’m also still waiting on the outcome of several other sources (the funding process also took much longer than I expected--over two years!)

  • Collected/drafted rest of items in the list above

  • Submitted application on RISTEK (June 2nd, 2018)

  • Waited to hear from RISTEK on status of Application

  • Heard about approval (July 20th, 2018)

  • Waited for Visa to be issued to Singapore Embassy (Aug 22nd, 2018)

I could have picked it up at any Indonesian embassy outside of Indonesia, but I had already booked my ticket from SFO to Bali, so asked them to issue the visa to the Singapore Embassy.

  • Spent a week picking up visa in Singapore

I flew to Singapore after my on-arrival visa expired (30 days). I flew to Singapore not knowing when I might be able to pick up the visa ($160 SGD = $117 USD) but got lucky. The day after I arrived, RISTEK sent me a letter saying it was ready!

  • Spent a week finalizing visa in Jakarta

After getting the visa stamped in my passport, I then had to fly to Jakarta and spend several days getting approval from various ministries to “activate” the visa. The main office was RISTEK (1,600,000 IDR = $108 USD)

  • Registered with Immigration in Makassar

Next, I had to bring my letters to the Immigration Office in Makassar, where UNHAS is based, to retrieve my KITAS (limited stay research permit), which will let me stay in the country for 12 months (2,055,000 IDR = $138 USD)

  • Final Step (for now)

When I arrive to Banggai Island, I must check-in with the local authorities (police, governor, immigration, fisheries office, etc.), and then do the same with the village chief at my field site. I don’t think I have to pay anymore fees though.

Pheewww! I’m tired all over again reliving this in text. Hope it’s been helpful, and if you ever find yourself going through the process, please feel free to reach out with any questions!

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We are the Sea


From the minute I met Susilo, a middleman who trades in aquarium fish, and the fishers with whom he works, I knew I had stumbled across kindred spirits. They are people profoundly connected to the sea—emotionally, spiritually, and physically, as I feel, but also depending on it to survive. I’ve not personally experienced such direct dependence on the sea (though it indeed sustains us all), and after this serendipitous meeting, I have felt drawn to better understanding these fishers dynamic relationship with their waters.

Finding Dory

I first met Susilo and the Sama-Bajau fishers during a previous National Geographic project, Reef to Aquarium, in which my team and I traced the tropical fish trade from the reefs of the Philippines and Indonesia (from where 86% of the fish are caught) to hobbyists’ homes in the US. We met exporters, middlemen, fishers, importers and hobbyists in both countries, but were having difficulty finding fishers catching the blue tang, our primary species of interest due to the release of Finding Dory in summer of 2016. Conservationists were worried the movie would spike sales in blue tang, which was only recently bred in captivity and is still primarily wild caught. The jury is still out on whether the movie affected sales, but this concern was the impetus for our foray into the world of ornamental fishers, traders and collectors. We had to get quite far afield from Bali, the biggest aquarium fish export hub in Indonesia, to finally track down blue tang and the fishers who collect them. This pursuit is what first brought me to Sulawesi and led me to Susilo and several communities of Sama-Bajau fishers.

You may have heard of these sea-dwelling peoples in the news last April, when a team of scientists published an article in Science on their incredible breath-holding abilities and how it may have been helped by a genetic mutation that led to enlarged spleens, the organ that produces red blood cells. The news went viral and put the Sama-Bajau in the media spotlight. However, at my field site, fishers now mostly use compressors and hookah lines to dive, so they can breathe compressed air underwater. No matter what our romantic notions may be about these people depending only on their bodies and physical strength to provide for their families, a fisher can always stay longer underwater when breathing compressed air--even with the impressive stats reported in the article of 13-minute breathholds at depths of 60m/200ft! To date, I have not encountered a fisher in the Banggai Archipelago who has this capacity to freedive, though I'm hoping to meet a few during my time in the field. The ones who still primarily freedive do so because they don’t have the capital for such advanced equipment as a compressor.

Finding my Lungs

For my research, I plan to freedive with the fishers to observe their fishing behavior while they are on hookah. Two years ago I tried to hop on a hookah line and share the compressor with a fisher, when it busted a leak while we were underwater. I was suddenly straining to breathe and had to come up quickly from 12m/40ft. Luckily, we weren't too deep at the time, but that experience convinced me that I didn't want to have to rely on hookah. It also reminded me that these fishers put themselves in danger daily simply doing their job and many suffer and sometimes die from decompression related injuries. So, while I was waiting for my visa to be issued (though it had already been approved a month earlier--stay tuned for an upcoming post on the epic visa relay!), I headed to Nusa Penida, a small island off Bali’s southeast side, to do some training with Freedive Nusa.

I had snorkeled and casually freedived my entire life but never had any formal training. I was blown away by how much I learned: from the proper stretching and breathing techniques, to honing a calm mindset, and positioning my body correctly. Before my 10-days of training I had a record breath hold of 30 secs and had only gone to about 18m/60ft. By the end of the training I could hold my breath for 4 and a half minutes on land and dive to 33m/108 ft, and the best part was it felt GOOD! I now feel so much calmer when I descend to depth and have better learned my abilities and limits. I highly recommend this training for anyone who likes spending time in the ocean! And if you're in Bali, definitely check out Freedive Nusa—they have a very experienced crew, who are great teachers!

Not only can I dive more safely, but I am more proficient using my camera and underwater housing now that I am doing proper breath-ups before diving down to work on a subject. This training will help me better document the fishing behaviors of the Sama-Bajau, as well as be more comfortable and capable of observing the fishers as they work, all of which will strengthen the project and produce better quality research.

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The Art of Now: Hunter-gatherer theory of time and Bajau Fishing Behavior


There’s some academic-speak in here BUT don't be afraid! I wanted to share why this project is important and how it is situated in past research. So here we go, complete with references in case you want to dig deeper!

--> You can also skip to the key points. Just jump to Project Goals <--

Background on Hunter-Gatherers

Hunter-gatherer theory argues that traditionally nomadic peoples live in a ‘permanent present’ (Bird-David, 1992) and abide by an ‘assumption of abundance’ (Bird-David, 1992; Sahlins, 1968), but how does this perception of time and abundance shift as historically sea-going communities settle? Visiting the stilt home of a Sama-Bajau fisher in the Banggai Archipelago, one finds the Sama-Bajau storing live fish and turtles in net pens under the floorboards as well as large quantities of dried fish on the decks. The fishers can sell these stored goods when they need extra income. Over time, does the emergent reality of stockpiling resources fundamentally shift nomadic fishers’ perception of time and abundance, or do the fishers remain in a permanent present long after settling?

This question is of pressing importance as these fishers increasingly depend on dwindling marine resources (United Nations, 2010); concurrently, marine conservation efforts in Southeast Asia have had a low success rate to date (Kamil, Hailu, Rogers, & Pandit, 2017). The Bajau of Eastern Indonesia live in a part of Southeast Asia known as the “Coral Triangle,” so-named for housing more coral and fish species than anywhere else on earth (Burke, Reytar, Spalding, & Perry, 2012). Within this region, conservation institutions often cite indigenous fishers’ use of “destructive” or “unsustainable” fishing practices, including cyanide and dynamite, as posing a direct threat to healthy reefs (Burke et al., 2012; Clifton, Unsworth, & Smith, 2010). Yet, the Bajau also constitute a portion of the one billion people across the globe who depend on fish as a significant source of income (ICRAN, 2002) as well as protein and micronutrients (Quaas, Hoffman, Kamin, Kleemann, & Schacht, 2016).

Within the Coral Triangle over 300 million people live in the region, and geographers estimate that over 150 million people use its marine resources (Hoegh-Guldberg et al., 2009). This paradox places fishers in a position to directly depend on the ocean for survival while also influencing its degradation (Nightingale, 2013; White, 1996). My preliminary ethnographic work with Bajau fishers in the Banggai Archipelago leads me to believe that some Bajau fishers continue to use harmful fishing practices related, in part, to their present-oriented perception of time and abundance. I plan to further examine and test this hypothesis through the proposed research endeavor. I began considering this connection while informally interviewing aquarium fishers; when I asked them about how they envisioned their lives in the future, my questions fell flat and elicited confused expressions. Such responses suggested lack of contemplation of an abstract future.

The Sama-Bajau People

These Banggai Archipelago fishers represent a sub-group of traditionally nomadic peoples in Southeast Asia, collectively known as the Sama-Bajau, who inhabit parts of Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. This group has distinct and understudied epistemologies, ontologies, and phenomenologies, which have historically converged to produce a cyclical, present-oriented perception of time (Clifton & Majors, 2012) and reciprocal perceptions of abundance (Pauwelussen & Verschoor, 2017). In addition to increased sedentarization, however, which may shift those perceptions, fishers in this region are increasingly encountering Western neoliberal institutions, especially since the 2008 formalization of the Coral Triangle Initiative, which is a multilateral, six-country partnership (Clifton et al., 2010).

These Coral Triangle countries, including supporting non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and government agencies that work with the intention of sustainably managing Coral-Triangle marine resources, often approach time as a forward-moving locomotive. They also often measure success of conservation and development programs as a linear progression (Clifton & Majors, 2012), which can be exclusionary (Igoe & Brockington, 2007), for example, when implementing marine protected areas (MPAs). The IUCN describes MPAs as “any area of intertidal or subtidal terrain, together with its overlying waters and associated flora, fauna, historical and cultural features, which has been reserved by legislation or other effective means to protect part or all of the enclosed environment” (Kelleher & Recchia, 1998).

Given this cultural, ecological, political, and institutional context, my proposed study will further examine the cyclical and present-oriented view of time that Sama-Bajau fishers hold (Clifton & Majors, 2012), how sedentarization and western influence may be changing those views, and how time perception affects the Sama-Bajau’s daily fishing practices. By examining the fishing behavior of these historically nomadic sea-dwellers, my proposed research will add to extant literature that explores changes in land-based hunter-gatherer communities as they become more sedentary (see Bender,1978) as well as seek to understand if and how time perception may perpetuate use of destructive practices.

Research Questions

To examine these themes, my research asks: How do traditionally nomadic, but now increasingly settled, fishing communities in the Banggai Archipelago conceptualize time, and how does their time perception influence fishing practices? Examining fisher time perception serves to expand our understanding of the phenomenology of time as well as how this lived experience of time actualizes in observed behaviors. Further, I will explore these themes by asking the following sub-questions: SQ1: How does a traditionally nomadic fishing community think about the past, present, and future now that they have been settled for several decades?; SQ2: Do fishers’ perception of time (i.e., being more present- versus future-minded) influence their fishing decisions, and, if so, how?; SQ3: In addition to time perception, what contextual factors influence a fisher’s day-to-day decision making? Finally, SQ4: Which, if any, factors are consistently associated with a fisher who is more future-minded, a characteristic often associated with a Northern/Western assumption of scarcity?

Field Site Context

I will address these questions in research sites in villages in the Banggai Archipelago, which stretches from the Gulf of Tolo, in the Banda Sea, to the Molucca Sea in Eastern Indonesia. I will work with several subsistence-fishing communities where local livelihoods consist of harvesting food fish as well as ornamental fish for the global marine aquarium trade. Before the consolidation of the Indonesian state, the Bajau traditionally existed in nomadic communities with nuclear families traveling together in small units of five or six boats (Hoogervorst, 2012). In recent decades, however, market pressures, and in some cases government mandates, have coerced the Bajau to settle in permanent residences along the coast (Hoogervorst, 2012). In my field site, this sedentarization occurred enough generations past that memories of boat-dwelling are distant even for the eldest. Yet, for these Bajau, traveling by boat—frequently, for long distances, and for many consecutive days to fish and trade—remains a critical part of their interconnected lives.

This project will further examine how those factors may affect Bajau perception of time and abundance, which has ramifications for conservation efforts now being asserted, including a new marine protected area slated to encompass a significant portion of the Banggai Archipelago. The MPA, being pursued by a collaborative of national and international government and NGO actors, is intended to contribute to marine conservation in the region by incorporating core no-take zones, tourism zones, and research zones. During my preliminary fieldwork, I learned that fishers in the area have little-to-no knowledge of the proposed MPA; this lack of local knowledge of the MPA plans is likely to pose significant challenges with implementation and management of the protected area at several key stages (Bennett et al., 2017).

Project Goals

  • Understand how Bajau community members (not just fishers) perceive and relate to the concepts of past, present, and future (through photos—more on this later!)
  • Establish any variation in fisher perception of time
  • Determine species and number of individuals fishers are harvesting and their day-to-day fishing motivations
  • Determine any patterns of time perception and fishing behavior within and across Bajau communities
  • Identify key characteristics that correlate with a more future-oriented perception of time
  • Share findings with local institutions to inform ongoing MPA processes in the region

Big Picture Goal

To better understand how fishers relate to their resources so that conservation efforts can be more nuanced, context-specific, aligned with fisher values, and effective!

Key Takeaway

Researchers have worked in various capacities with Sama-Bajau and other sea-dwelling communities in past studies, but this will be one of the first studies to examine fishers’ perception of time and how it affects fishing behavior.

References

Bender, B. (1978). Gatherer-Hunter to Farmer: A Social Perspective. World Archaeology, 10(2), 204–222.

Bennett, N. J., Teh, L., Ota, Y., Christie, P., Ayers, A., Day, J. C., … Satterfield, T. (2017). An appeal for a code of conduct for marine conservation. Marine Policy, 81(July), 411–418.

Bird-David, N. (1992). Beyond “The Original Affluent Society.” Current Anthropology, 33(1), 25–35.

Burke, L., Reytar, K., Spalding, M., & Perry, A. (2012). Reefs at Risk: Revisited in the Coral Triangle.

Clifton, J., & Majors, C. (2012). Culture, Conservation, and Conflict: Perspectives on Marine Protection Among the Bajau of Southeast Asia. Society & Natural Resources: An International Journal, 25(7), 716–725.

Clifton, J., Unsworth, R. R. K., & Smith, D. J. (2010). Marine Research and Conservation in the Coral Triangle, The Wakatobi National Park, 244.

Hoegh-Guldberg, O., Hoegh-Guldberg, H., Veron, J. E. N., Green, A., Gomez, E. D., Lough, J., … Oliver, J. (2009). THE CORAL TRIANGLE AND CLIMATE CHANGE: Ecosystems, people and societies at risk.

Hoogervorst, T. G. (2012). Ethnicity and aquatic lifestyles: exploring Southeast Asia’s past and present seascapes. Water History, 4(3), 245–265.

ICRAN (2002). People and Reefs: a partnership for prosperity. International Coral Reef Action Network (4).

Igoe, J., & Brockington, D. (2007). Neoliberal Conservation A Brief Introduction. Conservation and Society, 5(4), 432–449.

Kamil, K. A., Hailu, A., Rogers, A., & Pandit, R. (2017). Ocean & Coastal Management An assessment of marine protected areas as a marine management strategy in Southeast Asia: A literature review. Ocean and Coastal Management, 145, 72–81.

Kelleher, G., & Recchia, C. (1998). Editorial—lessons from marine protected areas around the world. Parks, 8(2), 1-4.

Nightingale, A. (2013). Fishing for nature: The politics of subjectivity and emotion in Scottish inshore fisheries management. Environment and Planning A, 45(10), 2362–2378.

Pauwelussen, A., & Verschoor, G. M. (2017). Amphibious Encounters: Coral and People in Conservation Outreach in Indonesia. Engaging Science, Technology, and Society, 3, 292.

Quaas, M., Hoffman, J., Kamin, K., Kleemann, L., & Schacht, K. (2016). Fishing for Proteins.

Sahlins, M. (1968). The original affluent society. Limited wants, unlimited means: A reader on hunter-gatherer economics and the environment, 5-41.

United Nations. (2010). Resumed Review Conference on the Agreement Relating to the Conservation and Management of Straddling Fish.

White, R. (1996). ‘Are you an environmentalist or do you work for a living?’ Work and nature, in Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature Ed. W Cronon (W W Norton, New York) pp 171‒185.

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Packing the Gear


(a.k.a my least favorite part of an expedition!)

Packing for a year of one's life is a daunting proposition, especially when that year requires a lot of gear that must be schlepped across the globe on numerous planes, cars, and boats. It gets more complicated, because while I am dependent on a whole host of electronic gadgets to conduct my research, there is no reliable electricity in the field to keep these gadgets alive. There is also no cell service for communication. This means I have to be self-sufficient (i.e. bring a mountain of stuff with me).

It took me about two years to accumulate this gear, and I purchased the majority of it through generous equipment funds from one of my PhD co-advisors, Dr. Larry Crowder, as well as some of it through my National Geographic Early Career Grant (thank you NG!)

To give you a sense, here's a partial list of the gear:

Tech Equipment

  • 1 Goal Zero Sherpa Solar Recharging Kit
  • 1 Garmin GPSMAP 78sc Waterproof Marine GPS and Chartplotter
  • 1 Iridium 9575 Extreme Satellite Phone
  • 1 ACR 2884 AquaLink View Personal Locating Beacon with GPS
  • 1 Coastal Automatic Inflatable Life Jacket-Royal Blue/Dark Gray (2S, 2M, 2L)
  • 1 Standard Compass

Photo Equipment

  • 2 Canon 5D Mark IV bodies + 6 lenses
  • 1 Gitzo Tripod
  • 1 iPhone X + selfie-stick (a trusty go-to!)
  • 1 Nauticam Underwater Housing + two ports + strobes
  • 30 Nikon COOLPIX Waterproof Digital Camera with GPS (for Photovoice)

Heading Freedive Equipment

  • 1 Pair Mares Razor Pro Fins
  • 1 Low volume mask and snorkel
  • 1 Roxy Wetsuit 3:2 mm
  • 1 Suunto Dive Watch
  • 1 Weight Belt (Luckily, freediving requires much less gear than scuba!)

Other Research Gear

  • 10 Field Journals
  • 1 Macbook Pro Laptop
  • 3 External Hard Drives
  • 10 Books (both in-the-flesh and e-books)
  • 40 Rite-in-the-Rain Notebooks (for fisher catch data)

Plus all the other essentials: toiletries, first aid kit, clothing, shoes, mosquito net, towels, reef-friendly sunscreen, etc.

In a later post, I will be sure to highlight some standout items from among this gear list in case you're interested in mounting a similar type of expedition!

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Expedition Background

This expedition has been several years in the making as part of my PhD in the Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources at Stanford University. I first encountered the Sama-Bajau fishers in the Banggai Archipelago through a Nat Geo Collaborative Grant documenting the global aquarium fish trade with a team of other Young Explorers (check out reeftoaquarium.com to meet the team and follow Dory's journey from the sea to a hobbyist's home in Colorado). I became interested in why some of these fishers still use cyanide, while others have transitioned to more sustainable practices, which led to my current PhD thesis and questions. This project is now supported by generous funding through E-IPER as well as an Early Career Grant from National Geographic.


There are several components to this expedition:

1) Putting Cameras in the Hands of the Community During the first 6 months of the project, l will work with the fishing community on Toropot Island, one of the Sama-Bajau villages and my primary field site, to implement a participatory method known as Photovoice. For this part of the project, 30-50 residents will have cameras in-hand to document their lives. They will be guided by three prompts, each prompt representing a different photovoice session. The prompts include: 1) photograph things that represent the past to you; 2) photograph things that represent the present to you; and 3) photograph things that represent the future to you. At the end of each round, each lasting two months, I will conduct informal interviews in small groups of 2 or 3 community members to discuss why participants created the images they choose to share for each prompt. In this way, the discussion of the images becomes as important as the images themselves. Participants could make the same picture for each prompt, for example, but have very different reasons for doing so that are elicited as the image is discussed, revealing further insights about their experience of time.

2) Daily "Participant Observation" on Fishing Trips Participant observation is a fancy anthropology term for joining the people with whom you're working and being a keen observer and detailed note-taker. In my case, this means going out on fishing trips with the same 20-30 fishers to observe their fishing practices, most often, freediving with them while they are breathing from a hookah line attached to a compressor

3) Collecting Fish Catch Data I will also be training the same 20-30 fishers to record their daily motivations and catch data in Rite-in-the-Rain notebooks over the course of the year. This data will be used to better characterize the fishery and understand what and how much each fisher is catching, as well as what methods they are using.

4) Informal Interviews with Fishers I will also be asking the same 20-30 fishers questions that can help reveal their perception of time and abundance. For example: How do you decide how many fish you will catch each day?; Do you always catch as many as you can?; Does the ocean provide an endless source of fish?; For the fish you eat, do you eat it all right away?; If not, why not and what techniques do you use to save the fish for later?; Do you save money or spend it right away?; If you save money, how much do you save and for how long?; and If you don’t save money, why not?; Do you ever think about the grandchildren you might have in the future?; If so, what do you think about them?; etc.

5) Structured Surveys Finally, I will then use responses from these informal interviews to further refine the questions to make sure they make sense to the fishers and are tailored to their specific context. These questions will form the basis of a more formal survey that I will implement with a larger population of fishers in the Banggai Archipelago across five islands to see if there are any characteristics or factors associated with fishers who have a more future-oriented lens. For example, do fishers who have lived in one place their whole lives think about the future more, or perhaps fishers who have had contact with NGO's?

This is the plan as of now, but field work is always full of surprises! I aim to be flexible and nimble to adapt to the reality of the fishers' context as I get to know them and their environment better over the course of the year.

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey!

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This is an exciting project, Shannon. Looking forward to following along!

Thanks, David!