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BEJE: TRADITIONAL FISH PONDS

Beje is a traditional fishpond widely used by the local communities in areas near the Mangkatip River. This includes the villages of Sungai Jaya, Mahajandau, Tambak Bajai, and Dadahup, in addition to many villages across the Mangkatip regency.

During the dry season, low-lying areas that are subject to wildfires typically form large holes, known locally as luhak. These luhak are usually covered by fallen logs and large roots, which are also the result of burns. Over time, these luhak become a reservoir for fish carried by floods from the river during the rainy season.

As the dry season arrives, the fish become trapped in the luhak and are utilised by the community for consumption. This practice has evolved amongst the local people, who now create manmade square-shaped luhak, commonly referred to as beje, usually with a width of 1.5 to 2 metres and a length of 10-60 metres.

Over time, the local community has learned that beje have even more benefits during the dry season. Beje are now often constructed around gardens so, that in addition to yielding fish, they can also be utilised as a water source for irrigating the gardens or extinguishing forest fires. The fish caught from beje significantly contribute to improving the economy of the community during the dry season.

The potential of beje to contribute to programs aimed at enhancing the standard of living for the communities is evident. Therefore, the Borneo Orangutan Survival (BOS) Foundation, in collaboration with several partners, has been involved in creating and developing beje for the local communities in Mangkatip Regency and Sungai Jaya Village. To achieve this, the BOS Foundation collaborates with local communities by forming groups to carry out the construction and management of beje.

Text by: Communications Team at Mawas, Central Kalimantan

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