Assessing the potential economic impacts of IUU Fishing requires an appropriate methodology to be chosen and effectively executed. With a number of distinctly different methodologies currently being applied, with varying levels of expertise, the GEF/UNDP/PEMSEA ATSEA-2 Programme held a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) on IUU Fishing Baseline Estimates for the Arafura and Timor Seas Region, with particular focus on Indonesia, on April 21, 2021.

The FGD was attended by eight reviewers from the RPOA-IUU Secretariat; the Centre for Fisheries Research; the Centre for Ocean Research of Indonesia; the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries; IPB University; Destructive Fishing Watch (DFW); and Indonesia Ocean Justice Initiative (IOJI) to substantiate the initial assessment by a team of experts from the Centre for Sustainable Ocean Policy (CSOP) – University of Indonesia, who were led by Dr. Arie Afriansyah.

Despite efforts in Indonesia over the past decade to implement standardised methodologies for assessing the economic impacts of IUU Fishing, no generally accepted approach yet exists. Therefore, the team refer to the recent study by Dendi Mahabror, researcher of the Agency for Research and Human Resources Development of MMAF, entitled Calculation Model of Economic Losses due to Illegal Fishing Activities in Indonesian Territorial Waters.

The participants discussed several methodological elements, including utilising data from overlayed satellite imagery and VMS, integrating vessels’ operational criteria and underscoring the unreported and unregulated fishing aspects within Fisheries Management Area 718. Despite the difficulties and limitations of obtaining data from each country partner, Mr. Arip Hidayatullah from the RPOA-IUU Secretariate appreciated the initial assessment and will use the data for further activity and research.

Read also: Presenting the Initial Findings on the Estimated Value and Volume Loss of the RPOA-IUU Participating Countries

ATSEA-2 has committed to providing incremental support to better understand the drivers, trends, characteristics and impacts of IUU fishing and reduce IUU fishing in the Arafura and Timor Seas (ATS) region. This assessment will serve as the baseline to support the implementation of RPOA-IUU and the activities of the sub-regional group.

(Deti Triani)