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KAMORO ECOLOGY - CHAPTER VII.

© Kal Muller, 2004. (Bahasa Indonesia)


01. A fisherman sells his catch on the road to the airport just outside Timika and near several freshwater ponds located a few dozen meters from the West Levee of the Aikwa River. These fish are African tilapia, an introduced fish commonly called mujair (Oreochromis mossambica). Dr. Gerry Allen, a leading fish expert, states that introduced fish prose a much greater permanent threat to the ecosystem than Freeport's tailongs.

02. An Asmat immigrant displays a good-sized Hump-headed Batfish, Platax batavianus, caught in the Wania River estuary. Hauling this fish with the rest of his catch, he has to walk several kilometers to reach a place to sell the fish. Unlike other migrants, the Asmat seldom settle permanently on Kamoro lands.

03. Two Kamoro women set up a long, thin 'curtain' or weir-barrier, across a creek frm bank to bank at high tide. This barrier, supported on each side of the creek by stout poles set in the banks and in the creeks's soft mud bottom. As the tide goes out, the fish will be trapped on the upstream side.

04. A fisherman hauls in a small shark from a net placed overnight in the sea close to shore. The valuable fins, much esteemed by the Chinese, have led to commercial over-fishing of sharks in the Arafura Sea, depriving the Kamoro of meat and cash.

05. For several years Freeport bought the most prized fish in the area, barramundi (Lates calcarifer) directly from the Kamoro. This buying program has now been discontinued. A Kamoro-owned business is now trying to sell locally-caught fishes.

06. A boy in Kekwa Village proudly displays this just-caught Talang Queenfish, Scomberoides commersonnianus which he snagged with hook and line in a nearby estuary. As it is too far to take to market as fresh fish (no ice available), it will be smoke-cured for sale, fetching a much lower price.

07. A transmigrant in the Timika market shows off a good-sized fish, probably a Giant Threadfin, Eleutheronema tetradactylum. Kamoro fishermen seldom sell directly to customers, thus forfeiting a large part of the sale price.

08. Most Kamoro live too far away from markets to sell their fish fresh, which brings the highest prices. They have to smoke-dry their catches, with sales prices only one third of less of what they could obtain if ice were available and fuel for outboards cheaper and more accessible to them.

09. A good-sized Giant Shovel-nose Ray, Rhinobatos typus, with a small Cowtail Stingray, Pastinachus sephen, seldom seen in the area. Both rays were net-caught by Kamoro in an estuary near Timika. The larger ray's fins are quite valuable for Chinese cuisine, more expensive than sharkfins.

10. Mudskippers are abundant in the mangroves, hanging out on muddy shores laid bare at low tide. These little fellows are Weber's Mudskippers, Periophthalmus weberi, restricted in distribution to south-central New Guinea and northern Australia. Although not highly esteemed, these musskippers are sometimes eaten by the Kamoro.

11. A fisherman from Atuka Village, Soter Maparo, set up a net overnight in an estuary some 50 meters inland from the beach. He displays his catch in the morning: one barramundi, Lates calcarifer; two threadfins, Polydactylus sp.; and three croakers, probably Johnius coitor (or, J. volgeri). A local man, Domi, bought these for Rp. 4,000, about the cost of a kilo of rice in Atuka. As soon as he sold his overnight catch, Soter set up his net again, to be checked in the late afternoon.

12. A considerable distance up the Wania River, just outside Pigapu Village, an overnight net haul yielded a good number of Froggatt's Catfish, Cinetodus frogatti, several other fork-tailed catfish, Arius sp., one fair-sized Thick-lipped Catfish, Arius crassabilis, three Nurseryfish, Kurtus gulliveri, one small barramundi, Lates calcarifer and ond good-sized croaker, Johnius sp.

13. Pigapu Village, up the Wania River. Catch from net set overnight in the river by leo Neakowau. The haul: foureen Papillate Catfish, Arius velutinus; four Froggatt's Catfish, Cinetodus froggatti; one of either Duckbilled (or) Daniel's Catfish, Cochlefelis danielsi; one small barramundi, Later calcarifer and one Giant Glass Perchlet, Parambassis gulliveri.

14. One of many large catfish caught just offshore in a net set overnight near the Sempan village of Otakwa.

15. An unidentified freshwater fish caught up the Wania River by a Kamoro fisheman using a net.




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