It has been slightly more than a year since I first came into contact with Lombok and Tanjung Luar fish market and as I look back on the year, I find it important to take stock as well as look ahead with even more focus.
I have seen, experienced and learnt much from the countless times at the Tanjung Luar fish market, and come into contact with several conservationists along the way, while trying to keep my emotions in check and getting to know the community and the fishermen there as well. I’ve learnt the importance of building relationships and staying on the path over the course of 2013, even at times when I just don’t know what to do. Several people have come to the fish market to photograph the shark catch at Tanjung Luar and posted them on social media platforms to spark outrage yet what does an outcry on the internet do, albeit viral? The visitations are one off and merely a snapshot of the bigger picture of the whole situation in Indonesia itself yet I have fallen victim to posting at an emotional high when I first visited the fish market, and sporadically still at times. In my recent trip, I was truly heartened to have met the Wildlife Conservation Society guys photographing and documenting the shark catches there for a period of 4 months to put in place a proposal for the fishery department in Indonesia and it is always heartening to see local Indonesians working on it. Was also heartened to learn that they have heard about what I am doing and are also planning on capturing the angle from the fishermen’s perspective in their documenting as well.
I guess for what I am doing in Tanjung Luar, maybe it is time to put emotions aside and really focus on making the dreams for action a reality and as the year winds down and we go about making resolutions again, I want to remind myself to dream big and be bold as I write down the realities I want to see happening in Tanjung Luar through The Dorsal Effect:
1) steady stream of boat trip tourists from around the world, such that all the shark fishermen from Tanjung Luar will get a chance to rotate around in taking the tourists out on their shark boats and have equitable income among all.
2) steady stream of corporates and schools coming for the boat trip to raise the awareness and educational value of marine conservation and to experience the beauty of open oceans.
3) Development of responsible and environment conscious travelling culture in Lombok.
4) Legislation in place to prevent shark fishermen from the surrounding islands from hulling in their shark catches for trading at Tanjung Luar fish market.
5) Development of eco friendly resorts and shark and marine conservation materials and merchandise for sale at a transformed and converted Tanjung Luar.
It’s a great end to the year to have caught The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and learn the lessons of the need to fight hard and long unseen for the things we believe in. Also, as we live in a world where job hopping is common and company motto unknown or nonexistent anymore unlike Life magazine’s powerful “To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer,to find each other and to feel. That is the purpose of life.”, I shall move on with the motto that shall keep me going too “to live in a world where our children and our children’s children can still sharks alive and swim free with them in the oceans”. I’d like to believe that company culture and motto is still important in today’s day and age and are still the things that keep us up and going each day at work as mine fuels me on.
Let’s go, 2014, it’s going to be a blast.