08 04/08/2011

Fishermen for Conservation in Borneo

Our Realm of the Red Ape Conservation Programme has been running since 2007, and through this we support HUTAN’s Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Project (KOCP) in Sabah, Borneo.

The Orang Sungai (River People) of the Kinabatangan River were, by tradition, fishermen.  They would make fish trap, locally known as bubuh, to catch river prawns.

Making the plastic version of the fish traps. Photo courtesy of HUTAN/Harjinder Kler

Unfortunately to make the traps, the fishermen would have to use the bark of certain types of trees, which not only damages the trees but is also an illegal activity since they source the tree bark from within protected areas.

HUTAN Fisherman

A fisherman using the new fish trap wrapped in linoleum. Photo courtesy of HUTAN/Jamil Sinyor

To come up with a sustainable alternative, HUTAN worked with experienced fishermen from the village of Sakau for a year, experimenting using various types of materials to design an environmentally friendlier version.  Much to their surprise what seemed to the best solution was to use plastic wire mesh!

It is also quick and easy to make the prawn trap using plastic, which can be made within a few hours.  Using tree bark would take up to a week to make including spending a day or two in the jungle to source the right type of material and then the trap would only last for about six months.

Since launching the Fishermen for Conservation project in 2004, this method has been winning over fishermen village by village along the Kinabatangan.

Click here for more information on our Realm of the Red Ape Conservation Programme