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Culture, Capture, Conflicts in Indonesia

INDONESIA - Phase two of the ACIAR-funded project Culture, capture conflicts: Sustaining fish production and livelihoods in Indonesian Reservoirs got underway on 20 August with formal inception taking place at the Directorate General of Aquaculture in Jakarta.

Photo: Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific

According to Simon Wilkinson writing for the Network of Aquaculture Centres in Asia-Pacific, the second phase will develop and fine tune co-management measures that have resulted from the project’s earlier research, primarily based on carrying capacity estimations for the three reservoirs under consideration.

The project will now focus on the Jatilnuhur (8,300 ha) and Cirata (6,200 ha) reservoirs, which account for about 10,000 and 60,000 tonnes/ year of cage-farmed tilapia and common carp, and 12+ and 10 tonnes/year of capture fishery production consisting mainly of tilapia, catfish and Colostoma, respectively. Fisheries activities in these two reservoirs provide 5,000 to 6,000 livelihoods directly, and many more indirectly.

Although inception was delayed by a few months due to the introduction of new regulations, the team has continued to advance the project. The key areas of progress are:

  • A draft plan co-management plan, drawn up based on consultations with stakeholders during the work of the first phase and the plan has been released to stakeholders for common on 3 July 2008.

  • The recommendations on stocking of the reservoirs to support the capture fisheries and to facilitate the reduction of nutrient loading has begun to be implemented, with 2.1 million milkfish fingerling (5 to 7 cm; hatchery reared and salinity adapted) released to Jatilnuhur reservoir. The stocking program was inaugurated by the Hon. Minister for Marine Affairs & Fisheries, Dr Freddie Numberi on 30 July 2008.

  • 30,000 fingerlings have been stocked in Cirata reservoir, where the fishers are in a process of beginning to get organised. This program will proceed based on the progress of in the involvement of the fishers in the co-management process, which is advancing fast and efficiently.

  • The fishers of Jatilnuhutr have already agreed to the principle that the Society will levy Rp 1000/kg of milkfish landed and the proceeds be utilized for procuring seed for the next round of stocking (seed costs Rp 2000/ tail). The results of the stocking program will be closely monitored.

  • The DGA has allocated the equivalent of AUD$ 47,000 to facilitate the implementation of the co-management plans in the two reservoirs, and expects to use the lessons learnt to other reservoirs in Indonesia. In addition, the Directorate of Human Resources Development has appointed two Research Assistants to monitor the effectiveness of the stocking program as well as for interacting and facilitating the farmer and fisher interactions in adopting co-management strategies for sustaining the capture fishery and the cage culture operations of the two reservoirs, which are of immense significance to the communities involved.

  • It is interesting to note the increasing involvement of provincial and district organisations in extending their support and cooperation in implementation of the co-management strategies. For example, the Bupati Purwarkarta District Organization, responsible for local fisheries regulations, issued a decree on the minimum mesh size and types of fishing gear that could be used in Jatilnuhur reservoir for the first time ever on 14 July 2008. The fishers are all willing to comply with these regulations now that they have witnessed the benefits of the stocking program – a clear example of the project’s impact on policy development.

  • A further stakeholder meeting of fishers, cage culture operators and Provincial and District DINAS officials on 20 August 2008 to apprise them of the concurrent developments that have taken place and the plans for fine tuning the co-management plans with the concurrence of all stakeholders, and implementing the same over the ensuing one to two years. Hopefully this will reduce the incidence of fish kills, increase the well being of capture fishers and make the fishery activities in the two reservoirs sustainable.

What is the next step?

At the stakeholder meeting held on 20 August it was decided that one cage culture zone out of the five in Jatilnuhur will be adopted as ‘demonstration zone’ for the implementation of the co-management plan within the next two months. This unit will be closely monitored and will be available for cage farmers from other zones as well from Cirata and Saguling reservoirs to visit and observe the activities. As time progresses, gradually the implementation of the co-management strategies, together with Better Management Practices to other cage farming zones, with suitable modifications.