A New Landscape for Indonesian Food Security
    Category: Maritime Economy By : Mark Smulders Read : 1105 Date : Tuesday, March 15, 2016 - 05:58:37

    The maritime economy’s importance to the prosperity of Indonesia is self-evident. Following substantial growth over the past 15 years, Indonesia is now the second-largest marine capture fisheries producer in the world, after China, with around 7% of global production. Apart from the Indonesian seas’ rich fishing grounds, the archipelago’s extensive coastlines lend themselves well to mariculture, including for finfish and crustaceans, and especially also for seaweed production. Indonesia is striving to become the world’s biggest seaweed producer, targeting 10 million tonnes for 2015 to supply a rapidly growing global seaweed industry.   

    Indonesia’s waters also harbor the world’s richest and most extensive coral reefs, with more underwater species and biodiversity than any other country. On the one hand, this invaluable resource has huge economic potential, including for tourism, while on the other, it requires protection from damaging and unsustainable human activity. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) is working with the government and Indonesian communities to ensure that the maritime economy will serve food security and nutrition objectives. 

    President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s vision for Indonesia to develop into a “global maritime axis” has given new importance to the maritime sector and its key economic, social, political and environmental roles. Food sovereignty is one of Jokowi’s top priorities towards ensuring food security. This objective applies best to the maritime sector, where illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing has violated the country’s sovereignty, which Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti has addressed with unwavering determination, such as sinking foreign fishing boats caught illegally operating in Indonesian waters. Her practical actions have been complemented by strengthening the underlying legal framework to address illegal fishing in Indonesia.

    Globally, FAO coordinates the work for developing international norms, instruments and guidelines, including for IUU fishing, while also setting standards for the sustainable and equitable management of fisheries resources. In Indonesia, this has included legal advice in support of a Ministerial Regulation on the Protection of Human Rights in the Fisheries Business.

    FAO is also assisting the government in implementing a coordinated and sustainable approach to conserving maritime ecosystem functions and maximizing the social and economic benefits derived from the large marine ecosystems (LMEs), particularly off Sumatra in the Bay of Bengal LME, and in southeastern Indonesia.

    The “Blue Economy” initiative is a program that emphasizes conservation and sustainable management, based on the premise that healthy ocean ecosystems are more productive, and a must for sustainable ocean-based economies. If implemented well, a Blue Economy approach will minimize the environmental impact and maximize economic and social benefits. A Blue Economy demonstration project called “Integrated Economic Zone Development” is being implemented in Lombok, with the aim to enhance sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development.

    Most importantly, the modernization of the fisheries business will help rural livelihoods and reduce rural poverty and food insecurity. FAO member countries, including Indonesia, have successfully negotiated a global agreement on “Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries.” This goal is vital, as more than six million families depend on fisheries and aquaculture for employment, half of whom depend on the marine economy.