In 2017 we started to focus on protecting the octopus. Octopuses are a valued food source and give the fishermen good earnings. At low tide many people are looking for them in the shallow waters, indiscriminately catching all octopuses including pregnant or baby holding mother octopuses. The mother octopus is generally very light and a poor catch, however the effect of taking these octopuses out of the ecosystem is devastating to the number of octopuses in the region.
An octopus management program closes off an area where for a certain period of time (e.g. 3 months) no octopus fishing is allowed. To show the boundaries of the protected area (or No Take Zone) on the water we install demarcation buoys, on the beach the boundaries are shown with flags. In this project it is of utmost importance to have approval from and the collaboration with all the stakeholders e.g. fishermen, villagers, police, ministry, restaurants, etc. The restaurants play an important role since they agree to not serve octopus in this No Take period.
After 2 or 3 months the zone is open again for fishing, and the results for the fishermen regarding weight and quantities are remarkable. During the entire project, research is done by a team of local villagers that are trained by a project manager from partner NGO Blue Ventures. This involves mainly the gathering of information before and after the closure of catch quantities, weights and determining the sex of the caught species