Various species of snappers are increasingly coming under threat in the Arafura Timor Seas (ATS) region, due to overfishing of individuals that are yet to reach maturity. In response to this problem, and building upon a previous round of training and group discussions, the ATSEA-2 Programme invited 18 fisheries managers from Indonesia, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea to attend an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) Training of Trainers (ToT) session.

Dr. Mohammad Mukhlis Kamal, M.Sc., who is the Principal National EAFM trainer of EAFM ToT for Indonesia’s Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), giving feedback following a participant’s presentation.
Reny Puspasari, a trainee from Research Centre for Fisheries of MMAF, presenting the EAFM plan for red snapper fisheries in Indonesia.
EAFM ToT participants from Papua New Guinea with their certificates
EAFM ToT participants from Timor-Leste with their certificates

The event was held from 12-14 October 2021, in collaboration with Melbourne-based Fishwell Consulting and Bali-based Starling Resources. This hybrid learning provided simultaneous live instruction from Bali, Indonesia; Dili, Timor-Leste; and Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea. The training was led by an accredited Essential-EAFM trainer, Dr Mohammad Mukhlis Kamal, M.Sc., who has been the Principal National EAFM trainer of EAFM ToT for Indonesia’s Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) since November 2020.

A total of 18 participants were selected to attend the EAFM ToT based on their test scores, attendance records, commitment and performance during the previous E-EAFM training conducted in June 2021. These participants were made up of representatives from the MMAF, Nusa Cendana University, Pattimura University, WWF-Indonesia, Nino Konis Santana National Park, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries of Timor-Leste, Conservation and Environment Protection Authority of Papua New Guinea, and the University of Papua New Guinea.

The three-day ToT covered both theory and practical aspects of EAFM, adapted to meet the specific needs of ATS red snapper fisheries, while also drawing on the first-hand experience and expertise of participants. Throughout the ToT, participants explored how to successfully manage training sessions – from understanding the audience, to planning and delivering the training sessions effectively.

At the beginning of the training, participants reflected on their strengths and weaknesses as trainers, in order to make themselves more aware of what needed to be strengthened and improved. Then, they developed their knowledge about EAFM via two mini-sessions, in which they presented an EAFM training topic in front of their peers and received feedback on their performance.

Participants also conducted some problem-solving roleplays to simulate real situations in the field. Training materials also focused on becoming an EAFM agent, which involved leveraging their circle of influence and concern.

“This is a great opportunity for me to improve my capacity as an EAFM trainer,” said Saraswati Adityarini from WWF-Indonesia, “I look forward to implementing the knowledge I learnt and making significant changes to improve the sustainability of the fisheries sector and local people’s livelihoods,” she added. Fidel de Castro Gutteres, from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries of Timor-Leste agrees about the importance of such activities. “This training is very important to us as a young country, striving to sustainably manage our marine resources,” he said.

Through training and group discussions, the ATSEA-2 Programme aims to develop a comprehensive regional EAFM plan for red snapper fisheries in the ATS region, making them as participatory as possible by involving relevant key stakeholders. Through the implementation and adoption of comprehensive and integrated ecosystem-based approaches to natural resource management and conservation at the national and regional levels, ATSEA-2 hopes to improve the management of fisheries and coastal resources for livelihoods, nutrition and ecosystem health.

(Cassandra Tania)