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


Institutional, sectoral and policy context

This section discusses the basic instruments and support mechanisms for managing marine habitats and populations. It deals with legal instruments, i.e., national laws that also serve as the basis for local ordinances and for the country’s commitment to international agreements, and institutional arrangements in support of fisheries or coastal resources management initiatives, including the roles of various government agencies, research and academic institutions, and the local government units in monitoring, control, and enforcement. This section also examines patterns of resource ownership, the capacity of human resources and institutions to perform research, monitoring, control, and surveillance, as well as the role of management bodies and stakeholders in managing fisheries and coastal resources.


1.4.1     Legal instruments 

A large number of laws and regulations comprise Indonesia’s legal framework for fisheries. Many of these regulations are valid for some parts of the South China Sea under Indonesia's jurisdiction (FMA 711). Indonesia is an archipelagic State made up of more than 17,500 islands. With a vast mass of water surrounding small pockets of land, Indonesia’s marine and coastal areas contain a diverse and rich range of living aquatic resources. Approximately 8,500 fish species, 2,000 crustacean species, 20,000 mollusk species, 30 marine mammal species, and 6 species of sea turtles inhabit Indonesian waters. These call for proper fisheries management in place.

According to Law 31/2004 partially revised by Law 45/2009 on Fisheries, the definition of fisheries management in Indonesia covers all integrated efforts including data collection, analysis, planning, consultation, decision making, resources allocation, implementation and law enforcement on fisheries, conducted either by the government or other relevant authorities in order to achieve sustainable productivity of fisheries resources. In addition to that, fisheries management shall be implemented based on the principles of utilization, justice, togetherness, partnership, equality, self-reliance, integrated, openness, efficiency, sustainability, and development. 

In order to support fisheries resources policy, the Minister determines inter alia:

  1. Fisheries Management Plan (FMA);
  2. Fisheries resources potential and its allocation in the Indonesian FMA;
  3. Total Allowable Catch in Indonesian FMA.
  4. Type, number, and size of the fishing vessel, gear and its auxiliary;
  5. Fishing ground, lane and seasons;
  6. Standard Operational Procedure of fishing operation;
  7. VMS;
  8. Prevention of pollution, habitat and environmental degradation;
  9. Rehabilitation and improving fisheries resources;
  10. Size and minimum weight of allowable fish caught;
  11. Fisheries conservation;

Law 31/2004 partially revised by Law 45/2009 on Fisheries, also established a licensing regulation, whereby any individual or legal entity wishing to engage in fishing activities in Indonesian waters is required to be properly licensed. Subsistence fishers are not subject to this requirement. In general, fishing in Indonesian waters is restricted to Indonesian nationals or Indonesian legal entities, whilst fishing in international water by Indonesian national or entities shall be in accordance with international conduct. In this connection, the  Ministerial Regulation Number 02/MEN/2011 concerning Fishing Lane and Placement of Fishing Tools and Auxiliary Fishing Tools in the Fishery Management Area of the Republic of Indonesia that was issued in 2011, provided rules on fishing operation. 

As the concept of fisheries refugia is relatively new to be introduced in the region, up to now there is no formal regulation in Indonesia that has been issued, which is specifically regulating the establishment and operation of fisheries refugia system.  Thus, the development of legal frameworks should be put as the highest priority during the implementation of the project in Indonesia. However, similar procedures that regulate the fisheries area for sustainable management and conservation purposes has been available for the references. Among those regulations that should be reviewed in the development of legal frameworks for the establishment and operation of fisheries refugia system in Indonesia are as follows:

  1. Law Number 31 of 2004 as amended by Law Number 45 of 2009 concerning Fisheries;
  2. Law Number 32 of 2004 as amended by Law Number 12 of 2008 concerning Regional Government;
  3. Law Number 5 of 1983 concerning Indonesia Exclusive Economic Zone;
  4. Law Number 6 of 1996 concerning Indonesian Waters;
  5. Law Number 26 of 2007 concerning Spatial Planning;
  6. Law Number 27 of 2007 concerning Management of Coastal Areas and Small Islands;
  7. Government Regulation Number 38 of 2007 concerning Distribution of Governmental Administration among Central Government, Provincial and District/Regency;
  8. Government Regulation Number 60 of 2007 concerning Fish Resources Conservation;
  9. Presidential Regulation Number 9 of 2005 as amended by Presidential Regulation Number 20 of 2008 concerning position, Duty, Function and Structure Organization of State Ministry of the Republic of Indonesia;

10.Ministerial Regulation of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia Number PER.17/MEN/2008 concerning Conservation Area on Coasts and Small Island.

11.Ministerial Regulation of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia Number PER.01/MEN/2009 concerning Fisheries Management Area of the Republic of Indonesia

  1. Ministerial Regulation of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia Number PER.02/MEN/2009 concerning Procedures for the Establishment of Marine Conservation Area

13.Ministerial Regulation of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the Republic of Indonesia Number PER.29/MEN/2012 concerning Guideline for Developing Fisheries Management Plan in Capture Fisheries Sub Sector. 

1.4.2     Institutional arrangements (research, monitoring, control, and enforcement)

The rapid economic development and population growth of Indonesia over the past several decades has accelerated the loss of natural habitat and biodiversity. This is particularly evident in the coastal zone, where human populations are growing at more than twice the national average. Historically, coastal economies have prospered from trade and fisheries. Coastal economies are now more diverse, including extraction of oil and minerals, aquaculture, forestry, recreation, and tourism. However, the diverse needs of a large and growing coastal population, especially in the coastal areas of western Indonesia, are limited by a fixed supply of coastal resources (carrying capacity).

According to national regulations, the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries established fisheries management for marine waters beyond 12 nautical miles. While for inshore waters less than 12 nautical miles, the Provincial and District/Cities Government shared authorities for 4-12 and 0-4miles respectively. As central government authority, the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries play a role in determining national fisheries policy, including assist and supervise the local government.  There are various relevant institutions under the ministry dealing directly with fisheries utilization and management, such as the following:

  1. Marine and Fisheries Resources Research Agency is responsible for developing marine and fisheries research. Based on information from the Central Research Institute of Marine Fisheries of Indonesia (CRIFI), the study of small pelagic fishes and fish stock abundance began in 1972. The occurrence of pelagic fishes around Karimata Island was detected during collaborative trawl surveys conducted by Indonesian and German Governments in 1975 and 1978. Acoustic surveys of pelagic fish stocks were conducted during late 1985 in the waters adjacent to Natuna and Anambas Islands. The estimated pelagic fish stock in both areas was 150,000 tons and 183,000 tons, respectively. Indonesia’s South China Sea area is 550,000 km2, with a potential annual yield of small pelagic fishes of 506,000 tons. Based on research conducted by CRIFI, it is believed that 30% of this potential yield is caught annually.
  2. Directorate General of Capture Fisheries (DGCF) is responsible for developing and implementing technical standardization in capture fisheries. These cover the management of fisheries resources, developing capture fisheries business, fishing port, management of fishing vessels, and fishing business services.
  3. Directorate General of Surveillance (DGS) of Marine and Fisheries Resources is responsible for developing and implementing surveillance of the marine and fisheries resources. Monitoring, Control, and Surveillance (MCS) is a very important part of Indonesian fisheries management. It is implemented through various instruments, among others, Ministerial Regulation 10/2010 governs the vessels monitoring system to be installed in the fishing vessel above 30 GT, as well as the establishment of POKWASMAS (Community group based surveillance)



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