With its large water area (92 % of the total Province of Maluku), it is not suprising that marine and fisheries sectors are the leading sectors of the Maluku’s regional economic development. Its potential capture fisheries is recorded 1.72 million per year making the Province as the “National Fish Barn” as promoted by the Government of Indonesia. In global context, Maluku is a signicant part of the world’s marine biodiversity as it is home of 76% of global coral species and 37% of global coral fish species within national boundaries.
Overfishing is one of the major threats to Maluku’s fisheries which include over-exploitation of shrimp and big-eye tuna, full-exploitation of snapper, grouper, flying fish, and albacore tuna. Lack of availability of good data is also another issue. There is still insufficient data for large and small pelagic fish and migratory species, and lack of information on the value and status of coral reefs, seagrass beds, and estuaries in the Province. Adding to the long list of threats to Maluku’s fisheries is the limited number of relatively poor management of MPA sites. Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is another area that needs to be strengthened due to unsustainable coastal development and pollution from inland development. Law enforcement must deal with IUU (Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported) fishing, weak capacity, ramprant shark fishing, destructive fishing, and wildlife crime.
To eliminate overfishing, the USAID SEA Project will evaluate the needs for improved compliance with logbook vessel registration and monitoring systems and traceability system, reinforce fisheries management bodies, as well as assess opportunities and strategies for the development of alternative livelihoods. Another issue around EAFM, one data policy, will be addressed by enhancing evaluation of the current roles of provincial and district fisheries agency in data collection, evaluation of data methodology, management, and dissemination systems, and development of marine resources status baseline.
Meanwhile activities to improve the management of MPA sites include conducting survey and identification of potential new conservation areas, developing village regulations, reinforcing traditional institutions, building the capacities for MPA planning and fisheries counselors, developing network between management agencies, strengthening the implementation of “Evaluating the Effectiveness of Aquatic, Coasts and Small Islands Conservation Areas Management (E-KKP3K)” guidelines, and managing focal interest using Sasi (customary national resources management).
For MPS, the project will focus mainly on the Coastal Areas and Small Islands Zoning Plans (RZWP3K) through review of fisheries and biodiversity conservation within the RZWP3K, finalize the documents, legalize RZWP3K, and socialize the regulations. In addition to that, SEA Project will also provide capacity building by providing MSP training.
In law enforcement aspect, the activities include developing communication and outreach programs to better socialize fisheries and marine regulation as well as developing incentive systems for community-based monitoring activities (SISMASWAS) as well as relevant capacity building and training.