Indonesia’s seafood industry is the second largest in the world, generating $5 billion in export revenue and employing more than 9 million people. Studies have estimated the country’s fishing industry could generate $2.3 billion more in revenue if its fisheries were sustainably managed.
“Through our work in Indonesia over the past 10 years, we have learned that fishing smarter, not harder, at sustainable levels is the best way to make fisheries more plentiful and generate economic security for fishing communities,” said Rob Walton, chair of the foundation’s environment committee.
“Every morning millions of Indonesian fishermen head out in small boats, many without motors, to make a living and feed their families. We are proud to continue our investments in Indonesia to improve its long-term economic prosperity while also protecting the health of the ocean.”
The Walton Family Foundation’s strategy will build upon the relationships and successes over the past 10 years. It is investing $32 million through the end of 2020 on initiatives that partner with the government, local partners, NGOs and businesses to advance fishing policies and practices that align Indonesia’s environmental, social and economic interests.
“This investment is a direct result of the Indonesian government’s leadership and commitment to advancing sustainable fishing practices,” said Barry Gold, environment program director. “We look forward to continuing our work with the government and the fishermen throughout the country so that these critical fisheries continue to thrive.”
The investments will support management reforms for a select number of economically and socially important fisheries, including blue swimming crab, tuna and snapper-grouper. Among the top priorities will be improving the ability of Indonesian fishery management agencies to use strong scientific information and tools as the basis for making decisions; supporting the implementation of rights-based fisheries management to secure long-term rights for local fishing communities; and implementing changes at every level of the supply chain so that seafood and fishing businesses are rewarded for adopting sustainable practices.
The foundation announced its approach for Indonesia during the Economist’s fourth annual World Ocean Summit, where businesses, industry groups, scientists, governments, ocean advocates and philanthropies come together to identify effective ways to shift from a conventional ocean economy to a “blue” economy that boosts ocean health and economic prosperity at the same time.
For the past three decades, the Walton Family Foundation has invested in conservation solutions that make economic sense. The foundation is focused on tackling one of the major threats to our oceans – overfishing – by identifying sustainable, locally-managed solutions that lead to more sustainable fisheries and more vibrant communities. It is currently working in the United States, Mexico, Peru, Chile and Indonesia. By empowering local fishermen and communities, setting fishing quotas based on reliable science, and harnessing the market to incentivize sustainable seafood, the foundation is working to bring together conservation groups, businesses and communities to restore the health of oceans for the long term.