Advancing Collaboration for Sustainable Fisheries: Highlights from the 5th Regional FCMC
May 31, 2023
The fisheries sector supports the livelihoods and ensures the food security of millions of people. The economy of coastal communities, industry workers, and some of the general public are dependent on this sector.
Beyond socio-economic aspects, this sector also plays a crucial role in preserving marine ecosystems. In Indonesia, with its diverse socio-economic conditions and abundant fish resources in its tropical waters, managing fisheries sustainably poses complex challenges.
To address these challenges and ensure balanced ecological and socio-economic considerations, the Regional Fisheries Co-Management Committee (FCMC) serves as a collaborative platform for stakeholders at the provincial and national levels.
The 5th Regional FCMC meeting, organized in Badung, Bali in May 2023, provided a forum for fisheries stakeholders to discuss evolving issues, share information, and disseminate fisheries regulations. The meeting also resulted in a series of recommendations and proposed actions to support sustainable fisheries management in Indonesia.
Under the theme “Collaboration Supporting Sustainable and Responsible Fisheries Management,” the meeting brought together 163 stakeholders, including Marine and Fisheries Agencies (DKP) from ten provinces of Central and Eastern Indonesia, with the support of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) and MDPI.
During the meeting, several challenges were identified, including the uneven distribution of fisheries management information, fishing licensing procedures that did not adequately address the needs of small-scale fishers (e.g., the Fishing Aggregating Devices procedures), and the involvement of actors outside the fisheries sector, such as the Ministry of Cooperatives, in the economic development and capacity building of fishers at the local level.
To address these challenges, Ridwan Mulyana, the Director of Fish Resources Management-MMAF, emphasized the importance of stakeholder support in creating a favorable fisheries business climate aligned with the Ministry’s Strategic Plan for 2020-2024.
Maintaining a balance between economic growth and sustainable fisheries practices was a key focus of the meeting. Yasmine Simbolon, Director of MDPI, encouraged all stakeholders to collaborate, stating, “Fisheries management is a collective responsibility that falls upon all those who rely on marine resources for their livelihood. This Regional FCMC meeting provides us with an opportunity to collaborate to ensure the sustainability of our fishing activities.”
Each stakeholder has a unique role to play in sustainable fisheries management. Academics and NGOs contribute by conducting data collection to support evidenced-based policies, while the government collects inputs to formulate fisheries policies, including the Harvest Strategy.
“Without data from stakeholders, there is no Harvest Strategy. The Harvest Strategy will not succeed without collaboration,” said Dr. Fayakun Satria, Head of the Marine and Fisheries Research Center, BRIN. Dr. Fayakun’s statement emphasized the value of collaboration, which the FCMC has upheld since its creation in 2018.
The 5th Regional FCMC Meeting was held with the support of IPNLF Indonesia (YII) and the Indonesian Pole & Line and Handline Fisheries Association (AP2HI), as a side event of the 2023 Indonesia Tuna Conference. In addition to discussing general fisheries management issues and the Harvest Strategy, the meeting also addressed issues such as FAD regulations, fishing technology, fishers’ rights, and the economic development of coastal communities through cooperatives.
Moving forward, the proposed action plans derived from the discussions will be implemented. At the national level, the FCMC aims to streamline the bureaucracy of FAD permits, promote the government-led socialization of the Harvest Strategy in each province, and involve more non-governmental stakeholders in fisheries management.
At the local level, the government will encourage fishers, NGOs, and non-governmental actors to participate in the economic development of coastal communities, including by establishing cooperatives and fishers’ associations. Additionally, efforts will be made to ensure transparency in the traceability of fisheries products through integration between existing traceability systems and the STELINA system developed by the government. Other recommendations included urging the Provincial FCMCs, currently led by Marine and Fisheries Agencies, to actively advocate for the rights and social responsibilities of fishers and crew members, to achieve more effective and responsible fisheries management.