Governance and sustainable global fisheries in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

Blog by:
Karen Hildahl, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist, GMC/UNDP
Diego Orellana, International Project Coordinator ,GMC/UNDP
Enrique Alonso, Fisheries Coordinator, SFP

“Business as usual”.
It was not long ago that we used this expression. However, the COVID-19 global pandemic has required us to rethink its meaning. The crisis has had profound impacts on the seafood sector, and on the livelihoods of industrial and small-scale fishers as a result. The food system has been disrupted all along the supply chain, from demand and supply to production. The pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of communities dependent on fisheries as a result of the informal status of the fishing activity. Women and men who work in unmanaged fisheries often lack access to basic rights and fishing communities that operate in the informal economy risk being left out of relief aid.

The current situation offers an opportunity to reflect on the state of fisheries prior to the COVID-19 crisis and highlights the need for a paradigm shift in the fisheries sector. On the demand side, there are still markets that do not distinguish where their fish come from and buy them without any sustainability requirements. On the supply side, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing continues to raise global challenges, and many fishers are left vulnerable as they operate under informal regimes.

The crisis is shedding light on the urgent need to strengthen management and enforcement as well as formality in the fishing sector. Economic reactivation measures post- COVID-19 should go hand in hand with improved fisheries governance. The GEF-funded UNDP/Global Marine Commodities (GMC) project  and its partner Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), promote a multi-actor approach that can help prevent fisheries from slipping back into the pre- COVID-19 scenario, by avoiding destructive practices and achieving sustainable marine commodities. Actions implemented by the project are focused on:

  • Sustainable Marine Commodity Platforms (SMCPs) bring together national fisheries authorities, fishers, civil society, the private sector and other key stakeholders in participatory dialogue sessions to identify and tackle the root causes that impede the sustainable management of target fisheries. This participatory co-management mechanism builds the legitimacy of management decisions by integrating the voices of all stakeholders at different levels of decision-making and can be used in post- COVID-19 economic reactivation measures.
  • Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) are multi-stakeholder efforts to promote the sustainability of a given fishery (whether or not the fishery intends to pursue certification), often led by the private sector. These spaces can be used to prioritize formality in the fishing sector and basic elements of fishery management such as data gathering, stock assessments and by-catch mitigation. In countries where FIPs are in place as a tool to improve fisheries, they can be used to promote transparency, collaboration and data sharing in a post- COVID-19 scenario.
  • Supply Chain Roundtables (SRs) are multi-actor spaces that bring seafood buyers together in a pre-competitive environment to foster improvements in fisheries. SRs can be used to gather critical information in the context of COVID-19 in different seafood sectors, exchange lessons learned, share resource materials and provide advice to businesses involved in conjunction with health experts and organizations. As an example of this collaboration in the field, SFP has used its extensive network of suppliers and buyers, fishery and aquaculture improvement project (FIP and AIP) leaders, and others to share available resource materials to help businesses deal with the effects of COVID-19.

Global Marine Commodities Project Model

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that there is an opportunity to promote sustainable fisheries actions that involve the entire supply chain. The GMC Project works with international supply chains as well as domestic producers and processors. It serves as a test case of a comprehensive co-management model, integrating government-coordinated platforms, market-based tools and private sector led FIPs.

The private sector can steer change by developing and promoting the right set of incentives during the recovery process. Responsible businesses can broaden pre-competitive collaborations in support of global policy requirements that affect most of the fisheries they are involved with or depend on. They can join together to push for improved fisheries management as part of reactivation measures and renew commitments towards sustainable sourcing.

There is a need to further promote collaborations, learn lessons from this process, rethink strategies and promote more innovation in the future to address the issues raised by this crisis and continue to advance sustainable fisheries and human well-being.

The Role of Pesantren in Achieving SDG-14

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)  and Ministry of National Development Planning/BAPPENAS host a plenary on Tuesday 8 October 2019, in Jakarta, to discuss the roles of Pesantren (Muslim boarding school in Indonesia) in supporting achievement of SDG14: Life Below Water.

This plenary is part of the lndonesia SDGs Summit 2019, 8-9 October 2019, which this year focus on marine conservation to improve welfare and reduce inequality. The plenary is opened by Minister Bambang PS Brodjonegoro of BAPPENAS, and Chair of Nadhlatul Ulama KH. Said Aqil Siroj. The panel discussion is consisting of Deputy Minister for Maritime and Natural Resources of BAPPENAS, Director of Early Education and Islamic School of Ministry of Religious Affairs, chair of RMI-NU, coastal pesantren “Tarbiyatut Tholabah” Lamongan, and  moderated by Luky Adrianto, Dean of Faculty of Fisheries and Marine Science of IPB University. Participants are representative from related ministries and agencies and about 100 pesantren from coastal area of DKI Jakarta, Banten and West Java.

There are more than 25 thousand pesantren in Indonesia, including many are in the coastal regions where community dependency to marine and coastal resource are high. As there are strong socio-economic and cultural ties between pesantren with nearby/surrounded communities, pesantren can play strategic roles as an agent of transformation, with its own uniqueness, to improve capacity of human resources, contribute to economic development in coastal regions, as well as proactively involve in promoting good governance and sustainable management of marine and fisheries resources.

This plenary is closely related to the principle of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which is “no one left behind” which is empower and involve everyone to progressively achieve the SDGs. The SDG Goal-14: Life Below Water consists of three main aspects that are compatible to each other: healthy fisheries which related to sustainable use and production of fisheries, healthy and productive marine ecosystem which related to protection and conservation of ecosystem, and wealthy fisheries which related to improvement of economic wellbeing especially coastal communities such as fishers. This is relevant for Indonesia who continues to actively optimize its national fisheries production. With its complexity, Indonesia fisheries sector needs an integrated management system that considers the integration of upstream to downstream industries, environmental and social economic aspect, and inclusive management which involve all stakeholders.  One of key aspect to achieve the target of sustainable fisheries in Indonesia is by effectively implement the regional fisheries management (Wilayah Pengelolaan Perikanan) approach that consider uniqueness, strength, and diversity of marine and fisheries in Indonesia.

This plenary is part of the Multistakeholder Platform for Sustainable Fisheries that is launched in 25 July 2019 by Bappenas to provide a collaborative space for stakeholder to support the country efforts towards sustainable fisheries under the umbrella of SDG-14 Working Group.  The platform is established through the Global Sustainable Supply Chains for Marine Commodities (GMC project) (2018-2021) implemented by BAPPENAS with technical support from UNDP financed by Global Environment Facility (GEF). The project aims to contribute to the transformation of the seafood market by mainstreaming sustainability in the value chain of important marine commodities.

Roby Fadillah
Deputy Director of Institunalisation, Development of Marine Product, and Maritime Affairs
Ministry of National Development Planning/BAPPENAS

Jensi Sartin
National Project Coordinator, Global Marine Commodities – UNDP Indonesia,



UNDP supports the development of the National Tuna Management Plan in Indonesia

Tuna fisheries in Indonesia are of critical importance to the national economy. Between 2005-2016, Indonesia tuna production comprised approximately 19% of the total landings originating from national capture fisheries. To protect the long-term viability of the tuna fishery, the government of Indonesia is now working to establish sustainable management and conservation measures as guided by the FAO’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF).

As the 2015/2019 National Tuna Management Plan enters its final year, the Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS) facilitated a workshop to support the work of Directorate of Fish Resource Management at the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) on the Development of the draft National Tuna Management Plan 2020/2024. This workshop was organized with technical support from UNDP through the GEF-funded Global Marine Commodities Project.

“We need to ensure the alignment of this tuna management plan with the 2020/2024 National Mid-Term Development Planning process, and also ensure alignment with SDG14” said Dr. Sri Yanti, Director of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of BAPPENAS, who is also the National Project Director for the GMC Project.

45 stakeholders from MMAF, BAPPENAS, UNDP, representatives of Fisheries and Marine Agencies in the Provincial Government, Fishing Port Authorities, tuna industry associations (AP2HI, ATLI, HNPN, ASPERTADU dan ASTUIN),  and NGOs (MDPI, WWF Indonesia, TNC and Hatfield) attended the workshop. Stakeholders discussed the identified issues, indicators, proposed actions, as well as a timeline and responsible parties to implement .

During the 4-days of workshop, stakeholders identified 534 actions that will be included in the 2020-2024 Draft National Tuna Management Plan. This Plan will be finalized by MMAF and  is expected to be synergized with the 2020/2024 National Mid-Term Development Planning process to determine priority programmes in the capture fisheries over the next 5-years, ensuring the sustainability and competitiveness of Indonesia tuna fisheries.

More information:
Jensi Sartin
National Project Coordinator 


Government of Indonesia Launches Multi-stakeholder Platform for Sustainable Fisheries

As a coordinated effort to improve the management of Indonesian fishery resources, the Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS) officially launched its “Multi-stakeholder Platform for Sustainable Fisheries” as part of The Global Sustainable Supply Chains for Marine Commodities (GMC) project on Thursday, July 25, 2019.

Dr. Arifin Rudiyanto, Deputy for Maritime Affairs and Natural Resources at BAPPENAS

Dr. Arifin Rudiyanto, Deputy Minister for Maritime Affairs and Natural Resources at BAPPENAS

“One of the most important aspects to achieving sustainable fisheries in Indonesia is by effectively implementing a regional fisheries management (WPP) approach,” said Dr. Arifin Rudiyanto, Deputy for Maritime Affairs and Natural Resources at BAPPENAS.  The launching event, held in Jakarta, Indonesia, was attended by various fisheries stakeholders including related ministries and agencies, local government, and the fishery industry, youth groups, and academics.

The GMC Project activities in Indonesia are coordinated by BAPPENAS with technical support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF). The multi-stakeholder platform is coordinated with efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially Goal 14 on Life Below Water.

Sri Yanti, Director for Marine Affairs and Fisheries- BAPPENAS

Sri Yanti, Director for Marine Affairs and Fisheries- BAPPENAS

“With the complexity of the challenges faced and the characteristics of capture fisheries in Indonesia, this multi-stakeholder platform is needed to agree on a shared vision, formulate strategic efforts, and jointly oversee its implementation transparently”, said Dr, Sri Yanti, National Project Director for GMC Project who also serve as Chair of SDG-14 Working Group in the BAPPENAS.

“Collaboration of all parties along the fisheries supply chain – central and local government, academics, partner institutions, youth, women, and fishers – is needed to achieve a just, independent, competitive, and sustainable Indonesian fishery,” said Sri Yanti.  Speaking at the launching event, Yanti invited active participation from all fisheries through the multi-stakeholder platform to collaboratively develop a 5-year strategic program for sustainable fisheries.

In addition, the GMC project is working directly to support Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) in pole and line tuna as well as the blue swimming crab fishery so that these fisheries can meet internationally recognized sustainability standards in the next 1-2 years. It is expected that these two sectors of fisheries will generate lessons learned and a model for the multi-stakeholder platform in developing policy direction and in improving the sustainability of Indonesia’s fisheries.

Indonesia Multi-stakeholder Platform for Sustainable Fisheries

Indonesia Multi-stakeholder Platform for Sustainable Fisheries.

The launching was followed by panel discussion with participation from Mr. Askabul Kijo, Head of Fisheries Agency from Southeast Sulawesi Province, Mrs. Janti Djuari, chair the tuna pole and line and handline industry association, who explained urgency for collaboration, Mr. Yudi Nurul Ihsan, coordinator of University network for SDG Goal-14 and Mr. Adrianto chair of Center of Excellence SDG Goal-14 from IPB University. The panelists discussed the lesson learned on governance mechanisms for fisheries management, and strategies to maintain sustainability and effectiveness of the multi-stakeholder platform.



About GMC
The GMC project is an interregional initiative implemented by the Ministries and Bureaus of Fisheries, Production and Planning of Costa Rica, Ecuador, Indonesia and Philippines, with technical support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), facilitated by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) and funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF).


Flickr photo gallery

More information:
Jensi Sartin
National Project Coordinator