A Day in a Life of a Marine Researcher
Yna walking toward the shore amongst growing mangroves.
by Yna Molina
Research, Haribon Foundation
6:30am: Woke up, prepared, and reminded self of the task for the day: to interview fishers in one island barangay in Burdeos, Quezon.
7:30am: Enjoyed eating dried fish (danggit) [Family Siganidae; rabbit fish] and sinangag for breakfast.
8:15am: Checked if everything is prepared. Questionnaires, check. Ballpen, check. Field guide, check. Drinking water, check. Umbrella, check! Waterproof all belongings, check!
8:30am: Boarded a fishing boat going to the fishing community.
9:00am: Adored the fantastic scenery while on board. Saw halfbeaks [Family Hemiramphidae], locally known as siliw, jumping out of the water and skipping across the surface.
9:30am: Arrived at the fishing community. We walked to the shore from our boat since it was low tide.
Many different species of the day's catch.
10:30am: I, together with the research team, talked to the barangay captain and introduced the Darwin Initiative Project;what is it about, and why are we doing this. Gave a copy of the questionnaire to the barangay captain so he’ll have an idea on what the interview is all about.
10:45am: Started to go around and looked for fishers who are willing to be interviewed.
10:50am: While walking, I finally found a fisher fixing his gillnet in preparation for the following day. Helpful information such as the time when fishers usually arrive, where most fishers live, were also asked to help the team make most of the day.
12:15pm: I wrapped up the interview with the two fishers, then headed back to the designated meeting place and have lunch with the team. Usually, it's fish again for lunch! Yum yum!
1:00pm: Siesta time! It's best to do this near the shore while taking in the cool breeze from the sea.
1:30pm: Interviewed fishers again; went from house to house and prayed that the fisher did not go out fishing!
Interviews are conducted to get to know the fisherpeople and how the catches are going.
3:00pm: After a series of interviews, some fishers were very accommodating and offered crackers for merienda.
3:30pm: Started looking for old fishers aged 63 years old and above since they are the ones able to tell a story about the fishing situation of the past.
3:45pm: I was lucky to find an old man in his 60s, staring blankly into the sea, sitting alone in an empty boat parked in the shore. As soon as I saw him, I approached him and asked if he was willing to be interviewed. Luckily, he was very interested to share his stories from the past.
4:45pm: After the 1 hour interview with lolo, I began looking out for fishers who just arrived. It was also interesting to check out their catches for the day. Names of interested fishers who claimed to be busy were noted and scheduled an interview with them the following day.
5:45pm: To end the day on a good note, I walked along the beach and admired the sunset while waiting for fellow researchers to finish with their last interview for the day.
6:00pm: All researchers convened and updated the team on the age groups of fishers that were interviewed. We also planned for the next day.
Yna Molina is Haribon’s researcher under the Darwin Initiative Project. Learn more about the project here.
Photos by Mikey Panopio, Ditto dela Rosa and Yna Molina