The Arafura Sea is a marine area in Indonesia with the potential for abundant fishery resources, especially for deep-sea species such as snapper. To support its sustainability, it is necessary to implement sustainable fisheries management activities. Efforts have been made, among others, through an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) and a Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP). These activities, their progress and their ultimate objectives were the topic of discussion at an event held on Thursday, 14 April 2022, entitled ‘Socialisation of Study Achievements and the Implementation of an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) and Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP) for Red Snapper Fisheries in the Arafura Sea’.

Since 2020, the Nusantara Nature Conservation Foundation (YKAN) has been a partner of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the Arafura and Timor Seas Ecosystem Action (ATSEA-2) Project. This project aims, among other things, to support the Government of Indonesia in fisheries management in the Arafura Sea through the implementation of EAFM action plans and FIP partnership networks with the private sector in sustainable fisheries management, geared towards Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification.

“The Arafura Sea, which is included in Fisheries Management Area (FMA) 718, is one of the territories with the highest fishery productivity in Indonesia and must be managed sustainably,” explained Head of the Fisheries Research Centre at the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Yayan Hikmayani, in her speech during the event. “For this reason, the network that has been formed through this programme must continue to be optimised, so that good cooperation is built between relevant stakeholders, including business actors, in implementing sustainable fisheries activities in FMA 718,” she added.

This programme collaborates with the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), local government agencies, fishing ports, the EAFM Learning Centre and FIP stakeholders related to red snapper fisheries in the activity target areas. In 2020 and 2021, YKAN has assisted KKP in conducting the study, identification and implementation of EAFM and FIP action plans. “WPP 718 is very strategic and will be a benchmark for other WPPs,” explained Ferry Sutyawan, who is the Coordinator of Fish Resources, Inland Sea, Territorial and Archipelagic Waters at the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries. “Therefore, the results of the study conducted by YKAN will greatly assist us in preparing the Fishery Management Plan,” he added.

The involvement of actors from the business sector in supporting sustainable fisheries is also essential, and has been encouraged through the FIP partnership scheme. One of the main efforts in the established FIP partnership scheme is to limit the size of the fish caught. “We invite business actors to pay attention to the size limit of catches, as well as the use of fishing gear,” explains YKAN Small-Scale Fisheries Manager Nandana Godjali. “All of this is to support the availability of fish stocks and avoid overfishing; in addition, efforts to raise public awareness and the fishery traceability system must also continue to be improved,” he added.

“From the results of our study, the challenge of fisheries management in the Arafura Sea is to maintain sustainable marine and coastal management,” said YKAN’s Sustainable Fisheries Senior Manager, Glaudy Perdanahardja, in his closing remarks at the event. “Development progress often neglects important habitats such as coral reefs, seagrasses and mangroves. In addition, we must also immediately find a solution to the problem of plastic waste, because it will threaten the sustainability of the fisheries sector.”

He finished his speech and closed the event on a positive note, underlining the success that had been achieved thus far, and encouraging his colleagues to continue working towards their shared aims.

“Through this programme, we and our partners have made various efforts, such as capacity building for partners, scientific studies, awareness and governance,” said Perdanahardja.

This article was originally published on the YKAN Website.

(By Maria Adityasari – Communication Specialist YKAN)