Third FCMC Regional Meeting: Sustainable and measurable fisheries management

Indonesia is one of the world’s tuna producing countries. Tuna fisheries, especially skipjack, yellowfin, and bigeye tuna in Fisheries Management Areas of Republic of Indonesia (FMA-RI) 713, 714, 715, 716, and 717 play an important role in the country’s national tuna fishery. However, if not managed properly, it could threaten the sustainability of tuna resources in these areas.

The time has come for sustainable fisheries management practices to be carried out in a measurable manner and introduced as a management tool based on fishing quotas, also known as output control. This management approach needs to be designed while keeping the interests of small-scale fishers in mind. Additionally, the global market is currently being pushed to ensure that tuna fishing methods are environmentally friendly, traceable, and do not harm endangered and protected marine species.

These were some of the main discussion points throughout the third Fisheries Co-Management Committee Regional Meeting in Jakarta on December 15, 2021. The meeting that was conducted by the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) and MDPI is an annual event, highly important for building synergy between stakeholders. Attended by Minister Sakti Wahyu Trenggono himself, this meeting also welcomed FCMC representatives from eight provinces: Maluku, North Maluku, West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, North Sulawesi, Southeast Sulawesi, South Sulawesi, and West Papua.

Sakti Wahyu Trenggono – Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries

On this occasion, Minister Trenggono expressed that the implementation of blue economy in the capture fisheries sub-sector could be done through measurable fishing. In addition, non-tax state revenues will be applied to post-productions to help build a more just and equal economy.

“I ask that this tuna management committee work together to ensure more measurable catch. We must be able to rebound and synergize to make Indonesia become the world’s fish producer, thus becoming the backbone of this nation’s economy,” he encouraged during the opening of the Third FCMC Regional Meeting, held at one of MMAF’s main ballrooms.

In the Fish Resource Management department, Director Trian Yunanda explained that 70% of tuna catch in Indonesia comes from small-scale fishers using simple and environmentally fishing gears such as handlines. To regulate fish catch quotas, management plans for capture fisheries will be based on FMAs and optimized by creating thee different zones: for industries, local fishers, and fish spawing and nursing grounds.

Trian Yunanda – Director of Fishery Resource Management
Saut Tampubolon – Chair of MDPI Foundation

The established FCMCs serve as a communication and data analysis platform, with each council meeting bi-annually to discuss emerging fisheries management issues at the provincial level. FCMCs are inclusive of stakeholders who are often not at the table, like fishers and mini-plant suppliers. Along with representatives of government agencies, industry partners, associations, academia, researchers, and NGOs, fishers also get the opportunity to actively participate in fisheries management.

Saut Tampubolon, Chair of MDPI Foundation shared that there has been an increase in the amount of tuna caught each year. In 2020, tuna production reached 515.685 tonne; 82% of it came from FMA-RI 713, 714, and 715 while 18% came from 716 and 717. “This increase is certainly encouraging, but it could also mean trouble. That is why this forum exists; we can exchange information and directly discuss any issues regarding tuna fisheries. This is now the time to introduce a policy on measurable fishing, so we can maintain the sustainability of our fish stocks,” he explains.

In terms of fishery supply chain, Indonesia still faces a handful of challenges and obstacles when it comes to increasing export, such as high tariffs, certificate requirements to ensure quality, sustainability, traceability, non-IUU, bycatch mitigation, even logistical constraints. Small-scale fishers are also still experiencing challenges in meeting all national regulations, such as owning all the necessary papers and catch reports which are part of fisher legality demanded by export regulations.

Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) issues around FMAs in the eastern Indonesia waters was also a hot topic among participants. Many are looking forward to the regulating of FADs installation, including setting the appropriate distance between FADs, placement location, and other requirements in line with the associated regulations. In addition to a ministerial decree for FADs located above 12 miles, more outreach is needed to ensure that FAD regulations are understood by local government, private sectors, and small-scale fishers.

MDPI continues to support policies related to measurable fishing, which has become one of the ministry’s topo priorities. The FCMC Regional Meeting is an exemplary efforts in synergizing to bring about a more sustainable and measurable use of tuna resources, especially in the eastern Indonesian waters.

As an annual event, the fourth FCMC Regional Meeting is scheduled to take place in 2022.