Ahmad Mukminin: The waters surrounding Aceh Province’s Weh Island, at the northernmost tip of the island of Sumatra, supports large shark and ray populations. There are no regulations on shark fisheries in these waters and awareness of the need to protect shark species from overfishing and possible local extinction is very low. So WCS turned to a movie to make the case for shark conservation.
In 2013, we launched an awareness campaign showcasing a new film, “Shark: Guardian of the Sea”, on the damage being wrought by local shark fisheries and advocating for new measures to stem the burgeoning local trade in shark meat and fins. The film has now been shown to over 50 fishers from 5 main fishing communities, comprising 18 villages on Weh Island and local fisheries managers. The film was also shown to over 80 students.
A movie to get people talking about saving sharks
At each screening the film has been launched with opening remarks by WCS staff who explain the goals and purpose of the film. The 20-minute film has been followed by hour-long discussions with fishers and students alike, to answer questions regarding the main themes of the film.
The awareness raising activity is part of a broader national campaign to improve management of Aceh’s shark fishery, which includes developing an action plan for the Aceh-Weh Seascape that addresses key strategies of Indonesia’s National Plan of Action for sharks and rays.