Nike (Awaous melanocephalus) Fishery and Mercury Contamination in the Estuary of BoneBolango River

Aziz Salam, Femy M Sahami, Citra Panigoro


Nike fish (Awaous melanocephalus) is a tiny-kind of fish harvested lunar-monthly in the estuary of BoneBolango
River in the City of Gorontalo. The fishing activity is showing steady increase recently as the
commodity finds its way to the international market. Fishermen are putting more efforts by escalating the
catching capacity of their gears. Meanwhile, mercury used by the artisanal and small-scale gold mining
(ASGM) in the headwaters for amalgamation put another aspect to the A. melanocephalus  fishery when
it wasted into the river down to the estuary. This paper describes A. melanocephalus  fishery and the
threat of mercury contamination in the habitat and the fish itself. Field research was conducted in the
estuary of Bone-Bolango River to observe the technology and methods of A. melanocephalus  fishing.
Samples of water and fish were taken for mercury content examination with Atomic Absorption
Spectrophotometer (AAS). Secondary data on production and distribution were obtained from
government offices. The result showed that the water and A. melanocephalus  samples contain mercury
at levels exceeding the quality standards determined by government.

Keywords: nike, mercury, food security, sustainable fishery

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