Benefits of Fisheries Sustainability in Indonesia


Through our collaboration with the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, SFG is working to analyze the potential benefits of fishery reform in Indonesia and evaluate the impacts of recent IUU efforts. The project leverages SFG’s state-of-the-art bioeconomic model, developed by Chris Costello and colleagues, which evaluates fisheries benefits and recovery potential from institutional and policy reforms at a global level. Underpinning this model is the most comprehensive global database of fishery status, fishery-specific growth parameters, and fishery economic data ever compiled. While this model motivates the case for global-scale fishery reform, it uses data sources that are unlikely to deliver accurate results for individual fisheries. This is true in Indonesia, where the data we currently have provide an incomplete picture of the status of local fisheries, particularly those in nearshore zones.
To fill this gap, we are working with key partners to develop a series of complementary, customized models that make use of more detailed data sets and model real policy measures. We have focused specifically on two Indonesian fisheries, Skipjack Tuna and Blue Swimming Crab, and in the final stage of this project we will focus on the Deep Water Snapper/Grouper complex. The outputs of these models will help us more accurately predict the potential benefits of reforming these fisheries in Indonesia. 


Fisheries are an essential source of food and livelihoods in Indonesia, and the government has recently made significant strides in improving the sustainability of its valuable marine resources. Indonesia is fighting illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in its waters, and its vast marine protected area (MPA) system has the potential to protect essential fish habitat and has drawn national attention to ocean health. Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) have helped focus attention on the critical role of the value chain, and the national government has adopted—at least in concept—global best practices for managing fisheries for the triple bottom line of economic, social, and ecological benefits. 
Despite these clear signs of progress, on-the-water management of fisheries remains limited.  Many of Indonesia’s fisheries are increasingly overexploited, and their contributions to food security, jobs and the economy, and marine biodiversity are at risk. Now more than ever, there is a need for new science-based policy and management reforms, strong leadership and capacity building efforts, data-driven decision making, and financial incentives that align with the long-term value of improved fisheries management. Designing and implementing fisheries reform measures that achieve the goals of government, fishers, industries in the value chain, and communities will require aligning public and private institutions, both locally and nationally.  

Through our collaboration with the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, SFG is supporting ongoing efforts to improve fisheries management in Indonesia by producing valuable tools, models, and information to explore and evaluate varying scenarios and conditions under which fisheries recover and increase their valuable.


In order to provide scientific input to the Indonesia's Ministry's fisheries reform process, we have developed two models to evaluate the effects of various management reforms on biomass, catch, and profit in the Skipjack Tuna and Blue Swimming Crab fisheries. In our first model, we used the Skipjack Tuna fishery as a case study to assess the effects of Indonesia's recent IUU moratorium on foreign vessels and determine whether it was in fact successful in decreasing fishing effort in domestic waters. Our results confirmed that the moratorium was effective in reducing the number of foreign vessels within Indonesia's EEZ and suggest that additional reforms that regulate local fishing effort could have the effect of significantly increasing Skipjack biomass, catch, and profit by the year 2035.  

In our second model, we used the Blue Swimming Crab fishery as a case study to analyze the impacts of a size limit and trawl ban under open access and managed access scenarios. Our findings indicate that when effort is regulated within the fishery, both of these control policies could lead to a significant increase in harvest and profit in the Blue Swimming Crab trap fishery. Both of these case studies underscore the importance of controlling effort to enhance the sustainability and profitability of Indonesian fisheries. 


This project is a collaborative effort between SFG, Indonesia Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Bogor Agricultural University, University of Diponegoro-Semarang, University of Padjadjaran, TNC, Starling Resources, EDF, and the Packard Foundation.