ddressing the challenges Of managing Small-Scale Grouper (Serranidae ) And Snapper (Lutjanidae) Fisheries In Eastern Indonesia
Loneragan, Neil R.
Sondita, Muhammad Fedi A.
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Fisheries are an important economic sector in combatting threats of hunger and poverty around the world, especially in southeast Asia, particularly Indonesia, who in 2014 reported the 2nd highest landings from marine capture fisheries globally. Recent research has highlighted the significance of small-scale fisheries (SSF) in terms of landings and food security and that catches from SSF are under-reported. The SSF category is an important fisheries subsector that provides livelihood and food security for millions of small-scale fishers, local communities and seafood enthusiasts in Indonesia and around the world. Up until 2000, small-scale fishers in southeast Asia contributed more food fish for humans than industrial fisheries (excluding fish used to produce fishmeal), and in Indonesia employ almost 85% of the people employed in the whole fisheries sector. The research in my Dissertation investigated fisheries management in eastern Indonesia and has three main areas: a) it examines the legal definition of SSF against the mandate of fisheries sustainability and empowerment of the poor and suggests a new definition for SSF in Indonesia, b) investigates trends in landings for grouper (Serranidae) and snapper (Lutjanidae) in Indonesia and trials the efficacy of a novel stock assessment, the Length-Based Spawning Potential Ratio (LB-SPR) method, for data-limited grouper and snapper fisheries in Saleh Bay of West Nusa Tenggara province and Timor Sea of East Nusa Tenggara province and c) investigates Rights-Based Fisheries Management (RBFM) for SSF to conceptualize a suitable RBFM, termed Fisheries Management Rights (FMRs) as a tool for SSF management in Indonesia. Different descriptive and quantitative research methods, including content analysis of laws and relevant literature, triangulated through focus group discussions and field fish-length data collection methods, are performed to address the aims of this research. Small-scale fisheries in Indonesia are currently not regulated and are exempted from the existing fisheries management instruments, which make them important for determining the long-term success of the overall Indonesian fisheries management (Chapter 3). The present definition of SSF (implemented in law in 2016) includes fishing boats < 10 GT, increased from the previous < 5 GT classification, creates issues as it increases the number of vessels and catches from unregulated fisheries. In this research, a new definition of SSF is proposed as a fisheries operation, managed at the household level, fishing without or with a fishing boat < 5 GT and using unmechanized fishing gears. This definition combines attributes of the fishing vessel (GT), attributes of the fishing gear (mechanization) and the unit of business where decision making occurs (i.e. household), and aims to minimize illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and focuses government aid on the truly impoverished and marginalized people. This research also recommends that consideration is given to introducing two different, but related terms, to existing laws to enhance fisheries management in Indonesia: “small-scale fisher” is introduced to the law on empowerment of fishers and “smallscale fisheries” is inserted into the law concerning fisheries. The future sustainability of grouper and snapper stocks targeted by SSF is threatened due to the continued expansion of the fishing fleets, especially those in eastern Indonesia in the past decade (Chapter 4). The trends in catches (landings) and effort for eastern Indonesia in the period of 2000-2014 indicate that the reported landings of grouper (Epinephelus and Plectropomus combined) and snapper (Lutjanus spp.) have each more than doubled in the period from the early 2000s to 2014, with grouper increasing from 21,300 to 48,300 tonnes and snapper from 62,300 to 137,300 tonnes. The total number of powered outboard and nonmotorized fishing vessels < 5 GT also increased greatly, almost doubling from 201,800 to 391,500 vessels between 2000 and 2014, while the numbers of larger vessels remained relatively stable. These increases in landings and vessels in the less densely populated eastern Indonesia have been much greater than in western Indonesia. An evaluation of 10,621 length measurements from six species of grouper and snapper (three in Saleh Bay: Plectropomus leopardus, Variola albimarginata and P. maculatus; and three in the Timor Sea: Lutjanus gibbus, L. boutton and Epinephelus areolatus) obtained over 12 months indicated that their estimated spawning potential ratios, a commonly used biological reference point for the condition of stocks, were very low for all species (0.03 – 0.14), except for E. areolatus (0.58) and that the ratios of fishing to natural mortalities (F/M) were high to very high (1.7 – 15.1). The length-based spawning potential ratio (LB-SPR) model indicated that all species, except E. areolatus, are harvested below the size of maturity. The continued expansion of landings and small-scale fishing effort and low spawning potential within two regions highlight the importance and urgency of seeking measures to rebuild the spawning potential for these high value species. The main driver of fisheries overfishing is the food and market demand for seafood that generates high levels of fishing effort, leading to intense pressure on fish stocks, sometimes to the point of collapse. An incentive rights-based management tool, termed “Fisheries Management Rights” (FMRs) that could address the root-cause of fisheries overexploitation, i.e. the unrestrained human motivation to fish, is explored and conceptualized for SSF management in Indonesia (Chapter 5). An equivalent resource management right, known as Coastal Waters Commercial Use Right (Hak Pengusahaan Perairan Pesisir/HP-3), was introduced through Law No.27/2007 concerning Coastal and Small Islands Management, but was annulled by the Constitutional Court in 2011. A qualitative content analysis of legal and other relevant documents, triangulated through focus group discussions with experts, decision makers and practitioners, was used to conceptualize the FMRs. The FMRs seem promising as a management tool to rebuild fish stocks and prevent further overexploitation. This concept is compatible with the traditional practices in Maluku Islands known as petuanan laut, where traditional communal ownership of portions of coastal waters are recognized and respected. The key attributes of FMRs are ‘secure and exclusive’ rights that legitimize the entities of the rights holders to secure their exploitation right and to prevent others from over exploiting their fisheries resources. Lessons learnt from other countries show that this approach, when integrated within fisheries management plans, informed by contemporary and traditional science, successfully addressed the problems of open access as it prevents fishers’ motivation for the race to fish. Fisheries management involves uncertainties across social, legal and ecological aspects of fisheries. Understanding the human dimension of the fisheries is equally important as any scientifically sound fisheries regulations and policies, though the intentions are noble, might lead to resource use behaviors that are not the intent of the regulation and policy. Adaptive fisheries management is therefore necessary to provide better options for enhancing the sustainability of SSF and the livelihoods of coastal communities who depend on them. This will require linking rigorous evaluations of legal and policy frameworks with an understanding of fish population and fishery dynamics that place the human dimension as an integral part of the ecosystem.
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