Seismic Shifts in Sustainable Fishing in Indonesia

Seismic Shifts in Sustainable Fishing in Indonesia

Larissa HotraJuly 29, 2016

In a historic moment for small-scale fishers in Indonesia, the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) recently enacted the Guideline for Utilization of Sustainable Fisheries Zones in Marine Protected Areas for Fishing by Local and Traditional Communities. The Guideline, endorsed on July 29, gives communities living in and around Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) the responsibility to co-manage their coastal resources and implement MPAs alongside government partners.

The Guideline is a breakthrough for small-scale fisheries in Indonesia. By involving small-scale fishing communities in many stages of MPA and Sustainable Fishery Zone Management, the Guideline aims to address challenges related to community participation, sustainable resource use, and fishery management – all of which can be considerable barriers to achieving co-management. Strong guidelines will also allow communities and districts to feel confident in how they implement Community-based Fisheries Management (CBFM) around MPAs in the future.

Indonesia’s government support of CBFM provides a pathway for improving small-scale fisheries throughout the country. Building on its fifteen years of experience with local communities and district governments, and as part of Fish Forever in Indonesia, Rare has supported MMAF in developing CBFM guidance for small-scale fisheries – particularly in helping to design and execute regional and national workshops to assess CBFM potential. Additionally, by working closely with small-scale fishers and assembling input for inclusion in the Guideline, CBFM – which is a critical element of Fish Forever – can be considered as an important and viable sustainable fisheries management tool.

Small-scale fishers are the primary users of coastal fisheries and have much to gain, or lose, in determining how coastal waters are managed."

Importantly, the Guideline also recognizes the significance of fisher livelihoods to the more than 132 million Indonesians living in coastal areas – many of whom are dependent on the health of adjacent coral reefs, mangroves, and marine fisheries. Small-scale fishers are the primary users of coastal fisheries and have much to gain, or lose, in determining how coastal waters are managed – making them critical to successful MPA management and enforcement. With 54% of Indonesians’ source of protein coming from fish, the interdependence between conservation and social wellbeing is evident. The new Guideline mandates small-scale fisher participation so that MPAs can both better protect Indonesia’s rich biodiversity and support the livelihoods of the communities that rely on them.