DPT, SEMARANG – The success stories of alumni have always been a source of pride and talk for universities, and often become inspirations for their younger classmates. One of them is Benaya Meitasari Simeon (31), a researcher at the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Species Survival Commission (SSC) – Shark Specialist Group.
An alumnus of the Fisheries Resource Utilization Study Program (now Capture Fisheries Study Program) Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Sciences (FPIK) Diponegoro University (UNDIP) in 2012 is a shark specialist at the IUCN Species Rescue Commission (SSC), a special commission aimed at conservation of species around the world. Founded in 1948 and headquartered in Gland, Switzerland, it consists of 78 countries, 112 government agencies, 735 non-governmental organizations and thousands of experts and scientists from 181 countries.
Benaya is currently a member of a network of scientists consisting of thousands of experts and volunteers from all countries in the world who work with the vision of “a world that respects and conserves biodiversity” starting to love marine issues since being a student. The woman who was born in Semarang, May 29, 1990 is now trusted as a researcher who focuses on fisheries and marine conservation of sharks and rays on the coast of Central Java. “In 2021 I became a member of the IUCN Species Survival Commission – Shark Specialist Group. Together with IUCN many international researchers, we are assessing the vulnerability of Shark populations both at the regional and global levels,” said Benaya in an interview, Saturday (3/7/2021).
This person who likes to learn about marine life, especially sharks and rays, has a lot of work experience. Among other things, in 2017 he was invited to join an international non-profit organization that works in the environment and supports the government in managing Shark and Ray fisheries in Aceh and West Nusa Tenggara Provinces. Then in 2018, he completed the Conservation Leadership Program (CLP) Training with young conservationists from countries in Asia – Pacific. “Thus, through this experience, I have often been invited to become a Shark identification trainer both at the national and regional levels.” she explained.
According to her, being a woman who works in the field of conservation with a fisheries approach is not an easy thing. With his experience, he is often invited by the FAO World Food Agency to discuss the condition of sharks and rays as representatives of Indonesia, including during meetings in Vigo Spain 2018 and in Kochi India in 2019. “In 2019, I was also invited to join the conservationist movement. international community to raise hope about this earth and present the condition of Shark and Ray fisheries in Indonesia in Conservation Optimism at Oxford University,” added the woman who is also a graduate of the Postgraduate School, Bogor Agricultural University (IPB), Marine Fisheries Technology Study Program.
Until now, this woman who graduated from Domenico Savio PL Junior High School is actively supporting the central government, both KKP (Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries) and LIPI (Indonesian Institute of Sciences) to conduct research and management of sharks and rays. Not only the government, through a consortium called the Fisheries Resource Center of Indonesia, he is also actively supporting students, NGOs & local communities (LATUN Bengkulu & Sawfish Indonesia in Merauke) to conduct research and management of sharks and rays in Indonesia. From his activities, this music lover has won several awards related to the marine and fisheries sector. Honestly, he admitted that he was very impressed when he studied at the UNDIP campus, even though FPIK at that time was not the first major chosen. However, while studying at FPIK UNDIP, he was introduced to many things that touched his heart. One of them looks at the dynamic coastal communities, Indonesia’s rich marine biodiversity, and Indonesia’s fish resources that must be managed.
The strategic location of the UNDIP campus, located in a coastal city, makes it easy for him to see the condition of fisheries on the North Coast of Java which is a barometer of Indonesian fisheries. He emphasized that knowledge is not only obtained from books and theories, but can be obtained through implementation practices for fisheries management in Indonesia. With the support of his lecturers and alumni’s family, he got many opportunities to study and work both at the National and International levels. “FPIK UNDIP introduced me to the many values of life and new dreams that I want to achieve through my career for a healthy Indonesian marine ecosystem and a prosperous coastal community,” said the alumni of SMA Krista Mitra Semarang.
Reflecting on his career journey, Benaya suggested that students, especially juniors who have to study in the midst of a pandemic, be able to adapt to current conditions. He said that right now is a tough time for everyone, but this way of adapting during this pandemic has broken down many barriers that have hindered him. Of course, by continuing to do self-learning optimally in accordance with health protocols as a new understanding. “With the online method, students can learn a lot in webinars and gain a lot of experience that previous generations could not. Keep the spirit to reach your dreams and build Indonesia,” concluded Benaya, who is also active in making short films about the marine world and marine conservation of the coastal communities of Central Java. (Source: undip.ac.id | Tim Humas UNDIP)