A place of fish
: subsistence and production for the market in Garogos Island, Maluku, Indonesia

  • Hermien Lola Soselisa

    Student thesis: Masters by Research - CDU


    The objective of this study is the description of a small scale artisanal fishing community in Maluku Province in Indonesia which engages in fishing for subsistence and exchange. Maluku and Indonesia are archipelagic regions, and this thesis treats Garogos Island as an example of 'small island communities'. The thesis begins with an overview of the environment, local history and social organization. It then discusses in detail local sea tenure, fishing technology and methods, and economic organization including methods of production and trade.

    By focusing on the activities for subsistence and for the market, the study attempts to describe the encapsulation of a small 'isolated' island community into the wider world economy and state through the process of change in the technological, socio-cultural and ecological spheres. This process in turn leads to changes in their management of marine resources exploitation. Beside internal changes, fishing communities also face to the presence of large scale commercial fisheries in their waters as a recent phenomenon. Problems emerge because outside large scale fisheries are not always compatible with local small scale fisheries. In fact, the increasing exploitation of sea resources by both locals and outsiders seems to lead to the potential of overfishing. The issue of overfishing is also related to the concept and practice of customary sea tenure by local people.

    The thesis concludes by suggesting that 'traditional' fishing communities in Maluku are characterized by encapsulation into the modern capitalist economy and the institutions of the state which lead them to dependence on the outside market. The conclusion also brings attention to customary sea tenure which is still important as a basis for development of local communities. However, it needs modification in order to adapt to modern fishing circumstances.

    Date of Award1995
    Original languageEnglish

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