MDPI and the Provincial Department of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of Gorontalo Initiate Multi-species Fisheries Co-Management Committee

by Karel Yerusa dan A. Riza Baroqi

Gorontalo is one of the busiest provinces in terms of fish landing from one of the locations involved in the Harvest Strategy, the FMA 715. Data from the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries recorded that Gorontalo’s marine fish catch exceeded 100,267 tons in 2021. In addition, 25,455 people living in Gorontalo are involved in small-scale fishery sector. These figures are strong evidence that Gorontalo’s productive fishery sector has strong potential, and that it must be managed sustainably to provide economic, social, and ecological benefits. Fishing production and population numbers are not the only aspects MDPI took into consideration before deciding to start working in Gorontalo. From August to September 2022, we conducted an assessment of the site potential, based on Gorontalo’s socio-economic conditions, local supply-chain, fishery data, and other information.
MDPI interviewed a local in Gorontalo to observe their socio-economy condition.
MDPI drew a few conclusions from the assessment results. Firstly, tuna biological data collection from the small-scale fisheries sector is still limited in Gorontalo. We determined two strategic locations for fishery data collection: Tenda Fish Landing Port and Tanjung Keramat District as a non-port landing location. Secondly, the catch from the small-scale fishery sector has significantly declined in the past two years, with an average daily catch of three tuna weighing 10 kilograms and above. Some small-scale fishers could not even catch a single tuna in a day. This could be an indication that fish stocks are declining, which implies further monitoring is needed through data collection to understand the impact on small-scale fishers.
Discussion with Provincial Department of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of Gorontalo to deliver observation results and to initiate of Fisheries Co-Management Workshop.
Based on these findings, MDPI, with the support of the provincial Department of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of Gorontalo held a Fishery Co-Management Initial Workshop with relevant fishery stakeholders. Eighty participants attended the event, including representatives from the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, the National Research and Innovation Agency, local government, the fishery industry, suppliers, fishers, academics, and NGOs. The workshop aimed to create a mutual understanding regarding fishery co-management and to encourage all stakeholders to manage fisheries resources collectively. With this mutual understanding, support, and commitment, it is expected that Gorontalo will establish its own Fishery Co-Management Committee (FCMC), which would operate under Governor’s Decree and under the provincial Department of Marine Affairs and Fisheries lead. The FCMC will act as a platform for sharing research results, socializing regulations, and communicating other information relevant to the management of fisheries resources. The Gorontalo government welcomed the initiative. The Head of the provincial Department of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Ir. Hj. Sila N. Botutihe, M.Si., shared her appreciation of MDPI’s work in Gorontalo and our organization’s support of the government’s programs regarding sustainable and responsible fisheries. She also hopes for cross-stakeholder collaboration to improve the economy of small-scale fishers in Gorontalo. MDPI’s Director, Yasmine Simbolon, added that all stakeholders need to focus on four main global issues: fisheries products quality, sustainability, legal, regulated, and reported fishing status, and product traceability. If properly followed, Gorontalo can have the opportunity to access international markets, providing benefits to all key actors of the supply chain, as well as the region and nation. The workshop concluded with a vote to establish an FCMC. The results showed that 99% of the attending stakeholders agreed to establish an FCMC. The results of this vote were stated in a joint agreement and will be acted upon shortly.