1. USAID SEA Gets Creative Online to Keep SEA Champions Engaged
USAID SEA recently launched through its SEA Champions WhatsApp Group (WAG) a story writing contest with the theme “Let’s Protect the Sea, Our Home” to showcase authentic stories of SEA Champions making a difference in marine conservation that can resonate with and inspire audiences across Indonesia. Held as part of this year’s World Oceans Day celebrations, the contest attracted dozens of entries to its two categories, Turtle and Whale, designed to accommodate the many different backgrounds and experience levels of the SEA Champions.
Three winners were chosen under each category and awarded publication of their stories in the USAID SEA website and social media channels. A female participant emerged as a winner, and the participation of women overall was notable because of the distinct character of each of their stories.
One female Champion, Sarna, wrote about how she used her Facebook page to deliver to a local mom teaching a turtle meat cooking class a warning about the human health risks of consuming turtle meat, and how the precarious state of turtle populations around the world has greatly diminished their important ecological roles. Nurmini wrote about how a “simple billboard,” intended to spread a conservation message to children in her community, drew positive reactions from passersby of all ages.
The SEA Champions program, a mainstay program of USAID SEA, enlists local champions to help create demand for marine conservation and sustainable fisheries management. The WAG was created to provide an environment for seamless communication and exchange of information within the SEA Champions program’s growing membership of over 90 members.
During a temporary suspension of USAID SEA’s field activities caused by the current pandemic, it has proven to be particularly useful to keep members engaged in learning and advocacy around marine conservation and sustainable fisheries. Through the platform, members are able to continue experiencing creative learning opportunities similar to what they used to get through in-person training. As well as the story writing contest, USAID SEA ran a poem writing competition (the three winning poems can be viewed on USAID SEA’s Instagram and Facebook pages) and a song-request activity where members exchanged messages via songs that were broadcast to the WhatsApp Group as if on a radio show.
2. USAID SEA Introduces New Flipchart on Sustainable Fisheries
A new free resource for frontline fisheries service providers has been released by USAID SEA in support of the Indonesian Government’s effort to conserve marine life and improve marine resource governance at all levels. This resource is a flipchart that illustrates, in a comprehensive yet simple form, the key principles and practices of sustainable small-scale fisheries. USAID SEA uses an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management that strives to involve relevant stakeholders in sustainable marine resource use. As a multiplier strategy, the project engages government fisheries extension officers, NGO field staff, local SEA Champions (volunteers assisting USAID SEA’s advocacy work) and other on-site frontline partners to help build stakeholder awareness of the sustainable ways that they can utilize their marine resources.
The flipchart is intended to serve as a resource and tool for this purpose. It was launched with positive feedback on 10 June, during an online workshop attended by 36 extension officers based in the USAID SEA sites. Participants described it as “useful,” and one suggested that it should be an “obligatory material” that extension officers must disseminate to fishers as part of their official functions. The flipchart will be distributed to the extension service coordinators in the three provinces where USAID SEA operates (Maluku, North Maluku and West Papua) so that they are easily accessible for use by extension officers in their meetings with fishers and fisheries communities. The use of the flipchart will be monitored by Fisheries SEA’s team to draw out lessons for further improvement of the material and its application, or for future scale up.
3. USAID SEA’s Fisheries Surveillance Regulation Proposals Finally Approved
The long process to amend Indonesia’s regulation on marine and fisheries surveillance has entered the final stage. On 12 June, the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), through its Directorate of Vessel Operation Monitoring and Directorate-General of Marine and Fisheries Surveillance (PSDKP) Legal Division, confirmed its full acceptance of 12 key recommendations made by USAID SEA to amend MMAF Decree 58/2001on the Implementation of Marine and Fisheries Surveillance.
The recommendations are contained in a policy paper that seeks to reinforce the decree with the adoption of a new ministerial regulation on “Community Participation in Marine and Fisheries Resources Surveillance,” and their approval has cleared the way for this regulation to move forward. Already, MMAF has started the legal drafting process, with the aim to submit the draft regulation to public consultation by July 2020. The recommendations were developed based on sociological and legal analyses and lessons from the experiences of community-based and customary surveillance groups, focusing mainly (at the request of PSDKP) on the best practices already in place across the western and central regions of Indonesia.
The PSDKP Director General thanked USAID SEA for bringing a fresh perspective on the Indonesian concept of community-based surveillance system (SISMASWAS), particularly on the role of community surveillance groups (Pokmaswas) in encouraging voluntary compliance, and on evolving the system towards new and effective patterns of community participation in the supervision of marine and fisheries resources in Indonesia, whether by individuals or by formal groups like the Pokmaswas, or by informal, customary organizations enforcing local wisdom-based local regulations.
As a group, the PSDKP team responded with enthusiasm to the proposals for advanced mechanisms to institutionalize the Pokmaswas in the village governance system as a way to make members self-reliant and protect them from undue political interference. Related to this, the team also found relevant the recommendations for the division of roles between the central government and the province, and for cooperation between provincial and district governments to strengthen customary surveillance systems and practices, such as through institutional development and capacity building of the Pokmaswas.
Also approved was a proposal to incorporate into the Pokmaswas monitoring and evaluation system three gender-related indicators that could promote gender role equality by enabling women to have access to the same roles and responsibilities as men to help dispel the subordinate female stereotype in the realm of marine and fisheries surveillance. These indicators are: (1) equality of membership that is inclusive of women and youth, (2) equality of responsibilities and access to active involvement in the Pokmaswas organization, and (3) equality of access to capacity building and training opportunities.
4. Government Formally Accepts USAID-SEA Endorsed Logbook Protocol for Small-Scale Fisheries
USAID SEA received on 9 June a letter from the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) Directorate of Fisheries Resources Management (PSDI) signifying formal acceptance of the Project’s support and recommendations for establishing a fishing logbook system to improve catch monitoring of small-scale fisheries. Implementation will not be immediate, but the letter is a significant milestone to improve small-scale fisheries management in Indonesia. It is also the culmination of work that began about three years ago, when USAID SEA started working with PSDI to develop a work plan to meet MMAF-specified targets that included establishing a regulation requiring small-scale fishers to report their catches.
Fishing logbook reporting is currently not a requirement for small-scale fishers in Indonesia, so there is limited data on catch by the sector that makes up about 90% of Indonesian fisheries. Seeing this gap, USAID SEA worked with PSDI to assist the development of a fishing logbook that is tailored to the constraints and conditions prevailing in Indonesian small-scale fisheries, while also meeting MMAF’s data requirements for those fisheries.
Several activities were conducted to bring this about: (1) an assessment to identify the logbook format, minimal data points, and management system; (2) development of the regulation recommendation; (3) consultations with the relevant directorates across MMAF, NGOs, and the provincial governments of Maluku, North Maluku and West Papua; and (4) piloting of the implementation model at the community level. At the end of 2019, USAID SEA and PSDI submitted the recommended regulation to the Legal Unit of MMAF’s Directorate General of Capture Fisheries for formal legalization.
PSDI’s commitment to the process has been key to this outcome. It will also be key to moving the regulation through the legislative approval process, and even on through to implementation because, once passed, the regulation will need to be advocated with fisheries managers, especially at the provincial level where the mandate for small-scale fisheries management resides.
5. North Maluku Starts Legalization of Fisheries Management Plan
The process to legally establish the North Maluku Snapper and Grouper Management Plan has begun. This came on the heels of an 18 June virtual meeting supported by USAID SEA and its implementing partner Wildlife Conservation Society Indonesia. At this meeting, the North Maluku Provincial Government through its Legal Bureau agreed to work with the Marine and Fisheries Office (DKP) to institute a legal policy for the management of these commercially important but declining fisheries.
DKP and the USAID SEA team explained that the plan was developed as part of the implementation of the 2019-2024 North Maluku Economic Development Plan, based on the results of a snapper and grouper stock assessment that they, along with some university researchers, initiated in April 2019. The assessment found that the North Maluku snapper and grouper fisheries have high economic values but are at risk of depletion, and urgently need to be protected for sustainable use to ensure the welfare of fishers and businesses that rely on them.
In response, the Head of the Legal Bureau committed to assist the legal process needed to translate the plan into legally enforceable policy. He explained that the process will begin with the preparation of an academic paper describing the legal instruments that need to be developed to enforce the plan, and will involve a series of technical and public consultations.
He also noted that at least two potential legal instruments could be pulled from the comprehensive stock analysis: (1) a local regulation (Peraturan Daerah or Perda) issued as a joint executive and legislative directive requiring compliance by all stakeholders in North Maluku, and (2) a Governor Regulation (Peraturan Gubernur or Pergub) to ensure consistency in management actions across the executive branch of the North Maluku Government.
6. Designation of New MPAs in the Malukus Draw Media Attention
The recent signing by the Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of the designation decrees for four marine protected areas (MPAs) in the Maluku region has featured in several online media sites this month. The decrees, signed on 10 June, covers three sites in North Maluku and the Koon-Gorogos-Nukus-Neden Islands in Maluku, which together make up a total of 203,578 ha.
The North Maluku MPAs, in particular, garnered significant media attention as North Maluku’s first nationally designated MPAs, with features in Mongabay Indonesia, Kumparan, Kieraha, I-Malut, Aspirasimalut, Dakta, and Wartapilihan. I-Malut reported that the three North Maluku MPAs will be managed as the Mare Island Tourism Park (MMAF Decree 66/2020), Rao Island-Cape Dehegila Marine Tourism Park (MMAF Decree 67/2020), and Coastal Tourism Park of Sula Islands and Surrounding Waters (MMAF Decree 68/2020). The Maluku MPA meanwhile will be managed as the Coastal Park of Koon-Gorogos-Nukus-Neden Islands and Surrounding Waters (MMAF Decree 65/2020).
The designation of these MPAs “is a manifestation of the commitment of the Indonesian Government to protect, preserve and harness the potential of sustainable fisheries,” Bujung Radjiloen, Head of the North Maluku Marine and Fisheries Office, told Kieraha. It caps several years of multi-stakeholder consultations facilitated by USAID SEA through its implementing partners (Wildlife Conservation, Coral Triangle Center and WWF-Indonesia) to ensure consensus and local support for the MPAs’ protection.