In order to curb the practice of Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing, Indonesia’s Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) has encouraged member nations of the Regional Plan of Action to Combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (RPOA-IUU) and G20 countries to implement responsible fisheries standards. This is an affirmation of the MMAF’s active role in the international arena in sponsoring the eradication of IUU fishing.

To that end, an event organised by the RPOA-IUU Secretariat and supported by the GEF/UNDP/PEMSEA ATSEA-2 Project was held in Bali on 7 June 2022. Entitled Advancing Regional Standards for Responsible Fisheries to Combat IUU Fishing, the international workshop operated a hybrid format (both online and offline attendance), through which representatives from various RPAO-IUU and ASEAN countries (including Australia, Timor-Leste and Papua New Guinea) were able to attend.

“The RPOA-IUUF and G20 member countries (must) come together to encourage the implementation of responsible fisheries standards,” said Indonesia’s Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Sakti Wahyu Trenggono, during his opening speech at the workshop. “Coinciding with the G20 presidency, this is the perfect example of Indonesia’s G20 theme, namely ‘Recovering Together, Rising Together’, whereupon the world can (reconnect) and overcome IUU fishing problems,” said the Minister.

The workshop set out to share best practices for the implementation of responsible fisheries practices, particularly in tackling IUU fishing by RPOA IUU and G20 countries. In addition, it aimed to accelerate the adoption of regional standards related to responsible fisheries practices in tackling IUU fishing, according to the national regulations and policies of each country.

Minister Trenggono explained that the policy for measurable fishing, which is one of his three priority programmes, is specifically designed to support the utilisation of marine and fishery resources, in a way that is responsive to the various aspects and carrying capacity of marine and fishery resources; ultimately, the objective is for these resources to be used in a more sustainable way.

“This is a common guideline, (which states) that all countries in the world have a shared responsibility for implementing sustainable fisheries management and eradicating IUUF,” explained Minister Trenggono.

In his keynote speech, Director General of Marine and Fishery Resources and Supervising Rear Admiral Adin Nurawaluddin explained that, as a regional RPOA-IUU Secretariat, Indonesia is committed to eradicating IUU fishing practices through various efforts.

This includes strengthening supervision and restricting the potential for illegal fishing practices, as evidenced by the arrest of 73 IUU fishing vessels (both Indonesian-flagged and foreign-flagged) from Malaysia and the Philippines during 2022.

“Indonesia has adopted the provisions of the 1995 FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) in national laws and regulations, and we are committed to continuing to eradicate IUU Fishing,” said Adin during his remarks.

Meanwhile, Coordinator of the RPOA-IUU Secretariat, Suharta, delivered a speech imploring RPOA-IUU member countries to use the impetus generated by this workshop to develop a clearer sense of unity and commonality for implementation of the CCRF.

“In addition to sharing and discussing, we hope that this workshop will (provide) momentum to reaffirm our shared commitment in accelerating the adoption and implementation of the FAO CCRF as an instrument for sustainable fisheries governance,” said Suharta.

ATSEA-2 representative, Handoko Adi Susanto also explained that regional and international cooperation is needed to win the war against IUU fishing. “The ATSEA-2 Project focuses on efforts to protect diversity and improve the quality of life through conservation and sustainable management of marine ecosystems,” said Handoko.

From these activities, it was noted that two approaches were applied to IUUF actors: FAO applied administrative sanctions, while UNODC was responsible for addressing fisheries crime.

The international workshop was attended by representatives from a total of 11 countries participating in the RPOA-IUU and 13 member countries of the G20. It featured keynote speakers from FAO, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), SEAFDEC and representatives of five RPOA participating countries and G20 members, particularly from the USA, the EU and South Africa.

The workshop was indicative of commitments made by the Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Sakti Wahyu Trenggono, to continue upscaling Indonesia’s role in international forums related to sustainable fisheries management and ultimately achieve the eradication of IUU fishing in the ATS region.

This article was published on the MMAF Website.