Papua Sea and Traditional Fishing

Papua Sea and Traditional Fishing

Guarding The Papua Sea with Balobe, Bemeti and Molo Tradition

Papua Sea and Traditional Fishing – Papuans who live in coastal zones and islands. Such as tribes on the coast of Jayapura, Sarmi, Biak-Numfor, Yapen, Wondama, Sorong, Raja Ampat, and Kaimana. Main livelihood as fishermen or often called coastal people.

For example, the Biak people have always been famous. As great sailors sailing using boats armed with natural navigation tools. By looking at the position of the stars and the direction of the earth.

Along the north and west coast of Papua, even to the Maluku islands. It is said that in Tidore there is a village whose inhabitants come from Papua.

Because of their greatness at sea, they were appointed by Sultan Tidore. To become a naval force led by Gurabesi. Who came from Biak.

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Papua Sea and Traditional Fishing

Papuans who live in coastal zones and islands, Such as tribes on the coast of Jayapura, Sarmi, Biak-Numfor, Yapen, In addition to being good at sailing. The beaches people also have local knowledge. To protect water resources ranging from the mainland to the marine life in it.

How do Papuan traditions or customs protect the sea? Beginning with mythological beliefs. Then some of the local wisdom that they practice every day. Raja Ampat which is famously beautiful in the world. Is an example of how the Papuans maintain marine ecology.

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Papua Sea and Traditional Fishing. Papuans who live in coastal zones and islands. Such as tribes on the coast of Jayapura, Sarmi, Biak-Numfor, Yapen. The people of the coast of Papua strongly believe that the sea has supernatural powers. That can be a source of goodness. And prosperity for the community while maintaining harmony with the “ruler” of the sea.

On the other hand, there will be disasters such as high waves, bad weather, people who drown or are attacked by sharks. And reduced fishing catch for fishermen.

Sacred Areas

There are sacred areas of islands, beaches and seas that are guarded by Suanggi – sea demons. Everyone who passes through the area must greet and offer food.

Do not do bad things. Like throwing trash, saying dirty, catching sea turtles. And forbidden to go to sea when seeing whales.

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The existence of traditions in the form of myths. And symbols from nature inherited from these ancestors has shaped the habits. Or experiences of people about the “good day” of activities at sea by predicting natural conditions.

Such as climate, currents, waves, the migration of birds. To determine location a collection of fish, types of fish, turtles lay eggs. And other marine biota conditions.

The Rules of Tiyatiki and Sasi Nggama

For example, the indigenous people of the Tepra, Teluk Tanah Merah. Depapre, Papua practice the Tiyaitiki tradition.

An unwritten knowledge to regulate, manage, utilize. And participate in preserving marine and coastal resources.

The beach and the sea as a source of life. That must be maintained. So, they can be used by their offspring later.

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For Papuans, humans are part of nature that must be respected. Like land and sea. It is likened to a mother or mother who provides milk for her children. Namely the people who live or look for life.

If the mother’s milk is drained. Let alone damaged, she will die. That’s when many people are miserable or poor. Next Tiyatiki as a means of consolidating citizens. To remain compact as a family bond in wading through a very heavy. World life.


Almost similar to the Sasi Nggama custom. By the beach people of the tribes in Kaimana. The customary rules which cannot be violated by anyone.

The traditional elders first perform the ritual. Before going down to the sea. By telling the rules that must be obeyed.

Within a certain period of time citizens are invited to search for as much marine potential. By using simple tools. Such as fishing rods and Kalawai (sharp metal-eyed wooden spears). Prohibited from using bombs. Potassium or any type of poison.

When entering the prohibition period, there is no activity at sea.

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The purpose of resting to the sea is to provide opportunities for fish to breed. This rule is run twice a year. For those who violate will get social sanctions. In the form of being set aside by adat and forbidden again to go to sea. Until the sentence is revoked by the tribal chief.

To supervise the rules of the Sasi Nggama. Through the agreement of the tribal chiefs and local residents. Amarine police “patrol” was formed to patrol.

Balobe, Bemeti and Molo Traditions

The tradition of catching subsistence marine products. For daily food needs using simple equipment. By the people of Papua is cultural values in the form. Of local wisdom that helps support nature conservation efforts.

Such as in the Cenderawasih Bay and Raja Ampat Bay National Marine Parks. Which are very rich Marine biota. It is only permissible to use simple tools. Such as fishing rods without bait or Bacigi. So, as not to damage marine resources. Just to be able to live every day which is known as Balobe and Bemeti Traditions.

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Balobe is a tradition of searching for sea products at night. During the dark moon. By using a wooden spear tool commonly called Kalawai. At the end of the Kalawai, there is a sharp three-edged iron.

Only using the instincts of fishermen. Already know the right time by looking at natural conditions. The dark moon indicates that fish fats. Will not expand or have a limited vision so that the fish appear benign.

Assisted by Pelobe petromax lamps. They are very adept at stabbing their lances at their targets.


From Balobe, the Papuans bring home catches of fish, lobster, sea cucumbers, and octopus. Catching fish with kalawai does not damage the marine biota because the target of the spear is very selective. Unlike using poisonous materials, bombs or fish strum devices can damage the environment and dangerous for the pelobe itself.

Another way to catch fish done by children and adults is molo fish, which is catching fish by diving in the depths of the sea using molo glasses and equipped with wooden arrow guns. Throwing eject bullets from the sharpened ends.

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Papua Sea and Traditional Fishing. Papuans who live in coastal zones and islands, such as tribes on the coast of Jayapura, Sarmi, Biak-Numfor, Yapen, The longest tradition since fishing gears have not been found in Papua are bameti like the Mariadei tribe of Yapen Islands Regency. Bameti is the activity of picking up marine products when the tide is low or the language of the sea is meti, taking place at night or during the day. Especially the sloping and overhanging coastal areas so that at low tide visible small pools and rocks.

In contrast to balobe which is usually done by fishermen, bameti activities are usually carried out by each family to fill leisure time while recreation, and to be used as a place to meet with other families in one village.

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Use makeshift equipment such as arrows from sticks that use rubber bands and then fired; pruning shells, and basin/catcher catchers. Look for reef fish, stranded lobster shrimp and various types of seashells, bia / oysters. Usually, the game is eaten by the beach and the rest is taken home to be eaten alone or distributed to neighbours.

Asmat Traditions Catch Fish

Thus the Asmat people who live at the mouth of the tidal river and swamps have their own way of survival. They are able to make webs from woven sago leaves. The net is used to capture fish in river mouths.

The method is very simple by throwing the net into the sea and then pulled in mutual cooperation. Due to the nature of river mouths that contain a lot of mud, it is very difficult when fishing nets are pulled to the coast. To outsmart them, they tether the nets or nets at high tide and then be pulled back when the water recedes. This shows that local techniques and knowledge have grown naturally in Papuan society.

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Customary Rules Saving the Sea

Reading the culture of indigenous Papuans about the relationship with the coastal areas above has given birth to customary rules regarding fishing patterns, systems to protect and preserve marine resources, and to take care of the lives of fishing communities living in coastal and island areas.

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Although these rules have not been made in writing but are delivered verbally in every custom event or ritual, such as prohibiting bombing, poisoning and anaesthesia, electric shock, removal of coral reefs, and other materials that can damage the environment and another biota. Likewise, it prohibits cutting or damaging woody trees on the coast or coast such as mangrove, ketapang and sago trees, and prohibits capturing protected marine biota such as dolphins and turtles. Hopefully.

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