Strengthening Fisheries Science and Management in the Heart of the Coral Triangle 

A team of 4-5 scientists and education specialists from the NMFS Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (Dr. Rusty Brainard and Megan Moews), Pacific Islands Regional Office (Dr. Robert Schroeder and Jarad Makaiau), and NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program (Dr. Janna Shackeroff and Dr. Paulo Maurin), with assistance from the Indonesia Marine and Climate Support (IMACS) program, put together three 1-week workshops for Indonesian fisheries scientists and managers on Ecosystem Approaches to Fisheries Management (EAFM) in May 2012.  Eighty fisheries scientists, managers, and university professors from Indonesia’s federal Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), district- and provincial-level fisheries agencies participated in the “EAFM 101” workshops funded by USAID/Indonesia. Conducted in  three priority sites identified by MMAF (Jakarta, Mataram - the capital of West Nusa Tenggara province, and Kendari - the capital of Southeast Sulawesi province), these NOAA-led EAFM 101 training workshops presented a survey of general topics in ecosystem approaches to fisheries management to build a common foundation of knowledge, to enable collaboration and capacity building between Indonesia and the U.S., and to meet the interest of the government of Indonesia in adopting and implementing an EAFM as called for the in the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization’s (FAO) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (2003). 


EAFM provides a suite of tools for managing marine fisheries more holistically, taking into account entire ecosystems instead of just individual stocks or species.  For Indonesia, EAFM represents a shift from fishery management that starts at landing places or fishing harbors, to fishery management that is based on ecological processes at fishing grounds and ecosystems.  Managing fisheries efficiently is of utmost importance to a tropical archipelagic nation like Indonesia, where a large part of the population depends on marine resources for food and income.  Without effective management, depletion of fish stocks and degradation of marine ecosystems appears inevitable.  With new and diverse stakeholders emerging, along growing pressures and threats, management of marine resources is an urgent and complex task.  EAFM offers a toolbox to address these challenges.


Topics addressed at the EAFM workshops included: science and environmental monitoring needs; legal, policy, and institutional frameworks; incorporating climate change and ocean acidification into fisheries management; stakeholder engagement; management measures; enforcement and compliance; governance; conflict resolution, and many other key considerations of EAFM. The workshops included conversations on the lessons learned from the U.S. fisheries management and how it has evolved over the last few decades.  The workshops were hands-on, walking the participants through an EAFM planning process, giving them a sense of the scope of activities needed to incorporate EAFM elements into current fisheries management plans and strategies. The workshops were highly participatory and involved conversations between Indonesian government staff, NOAA scientists, IMACS consultants, and program managers in various topics, including the potential of EAFM to support sustainable economic development, food security, and sustainable livelihoods in Indonesia.


Participants at all three workshops identified next steps to incorporate elements of an EAFM into their respective management units (e.g. district, provincial, or national).  Taking inspiration from these next steps, NOAA, IMACS, and USAID/Indonesia will continue efforts over the next two years to provide technical assistance and capacity building to support efforts of the Indonesian government to implement EAFM as a tool to achieve sustainable fisheries.


Fish Diversity at Market in Kendari

Kendari Fish Market Boats

Fish Net at Kendari Market