CSF attends South-East Asia and Pacific Regional Fisheries Summit in Jakarta
In late July, Mubariq and I attended the South-East Asia and Pacific Regional Fisheries Summit hosted by the Economist in Jakarta, Indonesia. The emphasis of the summit was to continue building on the efforts that have been made in the community to improve the sustainability of fisheries in the region and attract private sector investments into the sector. The summit was an opportunity for multi-sectoral dialogue by various stakeholders such as government, industry, financial institutions, academics and NGOs. The discussions focused on the region’s fisheries problems, with one of the most important issues pertaining to the question of how to scale and finance investments in fisheries. Mubariq and I were invited by the Packard Foundation, who is supporting our fisheries program designed to build capacity in local, regional and national natural resource managers and practitioners and provide time-sensitive analyses to the government and civil society.
The summit was attended by the who’s who of fisheries in the region, so it was an excellent opportunity to meet many of the leaders in the community working on fisheries reform in Indonesia. These introductions were made much easier with Mubariq by my side because, many of the civil society organizations and government ministries he has worked with in the past also work in the fisheries sector.
Many of the presenters spoke of the challenges in the fisheries industry around sustainability, transparency, traceability, and illegal fishing. Minister Susi Pudjiastuti is widely recognized as being fairly progressive, and has taken unprecedented steps to curb illegal fishing in her country. However, the challenges of ending overfishing remain, and many of the discussions focused around how private-sector investments could aid in fisheries reform without contributing to the over-capitalization of fisheries infrastructure, such as boats, motors, ports, cold storage, etc. Latest adoption of the ship tracking technology (vehicle monitoring system) was also showcased during the conference as a powerful tool to monitor fish traceability and illegal fishing.
At the end of the second day we broke out into working groups and tackled a variety of issues related to financing fisheries reform. I attended a breakout group on attracting private sector capital to fisheries. At the table we had folks representing the industry, private sector investors, government and civil society. I have been working on fisheries reform for nearly a decade and conservation finance for nearly two. Some of the largest barriers have been the miscommunication (often around language) and understanding of the issues. I think that the divide is closing, but we still have a ways to go. I was encouraged by the discussion around the table and I believe that there is a keen interest by investors to make the right types of investments that fulfill the triple bottom line.
Mubariq attended the group that discussed Ecosystem Approach to Fishery Management. Discussion focused around issues of standards, best practices, certification, traceability and regulation around sustainable catch fisheries. While the industry is leaning toward calling for blanket recognition for traceability and best management practice, NGOs and governments do not seem to have a clear position about the process of improving the standards regardless of whether certification will be adopted/endorsed.
The role of economic science is needed to find solutions of fisheries problems. Therefore, CSF was present to learn and find avenues to contribute to the resolution of Indonesia’s fisheries issues and beyond in the area such as investment in sustainable fisheries and post-harvest fishery industry development. The achievements of the Southeast Asia and Pacific Regional Fisheries Summit 2016 will be discussed in a wider forum and in-depth discussion with the theme "The Potential of a Broad Range of Sustainable Ocean Industries" in The Economist’s World Ocean Summit, February 2017 in Bali, Indonesia.