From the Coast to the Capital, Pride Goes National
Rare’s national Pride launch and the government collaboration behind it comes at a turning point for Indonesian fishing. This year, the country will define how it regulates its small-scale fisheries, the nearshore waters where most Indonesian fishers make their living. In the past, Indonesia’s waters have been open-access, meaning any fisher can extract from any fishing grounds. With a lack of ownership or organization, however, comes pressure: When all waters are fair game, fishers begin a race to catch, for fear of losing out to the many others that can come from anywhere to cover the same fishing grounds.
Now, the dialogue around managing fisheries is changing. In the past two years, the national government has publicly expressed support for the once restricted notion of managing fisheries using rights. This year, the government is formalizing its first regulation outlining rights-based fisheries management as it applies to Indonesia’s coast, giving communities the legal right to make rights-based fishing a reality in their nearby waters. The regulation will first apply to fishing zones within 17 million hectares of Indonesian Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
Rare has supported the Indonesian government in its exploration of the alternative management approach as a trusted thought partner. Now that the conversation around fisheries has opened up to rights-based models, Rare can move forward in its work to help communities design, sanction and manage access areas developed using the Fish Forever formula. In the Mayalibit Bay MPA and the Karimunjawa National Park, this process is well on its way: We’ve worked with communities in these areas to finalize two designs for managed access + marine reserves. From here, we’ll channel the momentum to further build support for Fish Forever in communities across Indonesia, as well as at the national level.
For Rare, the national Pride launch was an important mark of trust and collaboration needed to mobilize positive fisheries change nationally, as Indonesia’s fisheries and environment ministries co-hosted the event. There, government and fisher organization leaders joined Rare Indonesia Vice President Taufiq Alimi in a roundtable discussion about the future of the country’s small-scale fisheries. Agus Dermawan, Secretary for Directorate General of Marine Spatial Management of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Agus Budi Santoso, Secretariat General of Natural Resources Conservation and its Ecosystems of the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and Riza
Damanik, Chairman of the Indonesian Traditional Fisherfolk Union, spoke of the need to elevate fishers and their communities to become active players in sustainable fisheries management.
For these leaders, it’s also critical to factor the country’s bold conservation goals into regulation of small-scale fishing, particularly enforcement of Indonesia’s MPAs. In 2009, Indonesia committed to reaching a target of 20 million hectares of effectively managed MPAs by 2020. Conservation through marine reserves is an integral part of the Fish Forever solution, which strategically places managed access areas in or along existing MPAs to work with their recovery objectives. The combination promotes an exchange of benefits that can motivate fishers to become more involved in protecting the marine environment: Fishers with exclusive access to a certain area can be better incentivized to enforce nearby MPA protections when there’s an opportunity to later catch the fish that could spill over from that MPA’s waters. “The sustainability and conservation of MPAs will not take place without the participation of small-scale fishers, and the community surrounding the area to guard it,” said a senior MMAF official at the launch. “Through the course of a Fish Forever Pride campaign, we want to make MPAs directly useful for small-scale fishers.”
The sustainability and conservation of MPAs will not take place without the participation of small-scale fishers, and the community surrounding the area to guard it." senior MMAF official
Ultimately, Fish Forever places the fate of its management solution in the hands of those who will live and fish by its rules. In the weeks that followed the national Pride launch, Rare Fellows leading the 12 campaigns hosted local launches that brought Fish Forever’s message to each community. With each launch came parades through the streets featuring bright, big-eyed marine animal mascots, outdoor games, traditional dance performances, and shared meals topped off with fish-shaped cakes. As the celebrations took over streets and fields, Rare Fellows invited fishers to upcoming meetings to collectively discuss the approach, think about what it should look like in their community, and voice their thoughts and concerns about its design. As Pride campaigns organize communities around new management areas that they can shape together, Rare Fellows will look to their members to question, learn about, embrace and drive sustainable, rights-based fishing.