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Sungsang: Getting to Know the Fishermen Settlement at the Mouth of the Musi River

Basic service access and quality improvement for communities

The Sungsang area, a towering fishermen settlement at the mouth of the Musi River, depicts a life closely related to water. Located to the west of the river mouth, this area consists of five villages, namely Marga Sungsang, Sungsang I, Sungsang II, Sungsang III, and Sungsang IV, with a total population of 23,758 in 2017 according to the Central Statistics Agency (BPS).

The residents of Sungsang, often referred to as ‘Wong Laut’ (Sea People), live dependent on the sea and river. Their main activities include fishing for fish, shrimp, clams, squid, and crabs, most of which are sold to local collectors or in other areas such as Bangka, Lampung, Palembang, Java, and even China.

This settlement is unique because it is built on tidal flats, with houses made of wood and built on stilts. Wooden bridges connect the rows of houses, creating a dense community above the water surface. In fact, due to land limitations, one house can be inhabited by two to three families.

The geographic conditions of Sungsang, surrounded by rivers and seas, also create a dominant mangrove ecosystem and nipa palms. This vegetation serves as a source of life for the community, both as a fishing ground and as protection against coastal abrasion.

However, the lives of fishermen in Sungsang are not without challenges. Although their main livelihood comes from the sea, environmental degradation and increased economic activities around the area threaten the sustainability of natural resources.

Local governments, along with NGOs and local communities, play a crucial role in environmental conservation and the welfare of fishermen. Mangrove protection programs, fisheries resource management, and local economic development are the focus to improve the welfare of the Sungsang community.

Through local wisdom and collaboration among stakeholders, the Sungsang area can continue to be an example of harmonious life between humans and nature. With sustainable efforts, it is hoped that the sustainability of natural resources and the welfare of fishermen can be preserved for future generations.


Meiardhy Mujianto

“Sailboats are not made to be tied to the beach, but to sail the rough waves in the middle of the ocean.”


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