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Establishment of Fisheries Refugia in Indonesia:
Background and Situation Analysis to Support


Baseline analysis and gaps

The experience of Indonesia with a lack of compliance with no-take ‘fish sanctuaries’ was the entry point to efforts to improve the basis for integrated fish stock and habitat management in Indonesia. Particularly this experience laid stress on the importance of focusing on the concepts of sustainable use and fishery-critical habitat linkages in communicating with government officials and coastal fishing communities in Indonesia about spatial fisheries management tools. It was noted by the National Fisheries Committee that these are more easily understood and likely accepted at the fisheries community level than either the science of no-take areas or the concept of biodiversity and its conservation. Activities of the fisheries component of the UNEP/GEF South China Sea project in Indonesia resulted in consensus among target fishing communities on the suitability of the fisheries refugia approach in addressing barriers to the integration of fisheries and habitat management at selected priority locations.

Stakeholder consultations involving representatives from local government units, regional government agencies, law enforcers, fisherfolk organization, non-governmental organizations, and national fisheries committee members have been undertaken and resulted in:  the identification of goals and objectives for the priority refugia sites identified above; and a high level of stakeholder support for the establishment of the refugia approach in Indonesia. The latter is evidenced by the incorporation of the fisheries refugia concept as a priority tool for improved fisheries habitat management in Indonesia’s fisheries planning.


Key gaps that have been identified include needs for:

  • Enhanced national coordination mechanism to accommodate overarching responsibility for the establishment of national fisheries refugia;
  • Strengthened enabling environment for the formal designation and operational management of fisheries refugia;
  • Improved national and site-level science and information base to support evidence-based planning and operational management; and
  • Development of practical experience in the designation and management of fisheries refugia sites


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