United States and Indonesia Celebrate Shared Successes in Marine Conservation and Sustainable Fisheries

JAKARTA – On February 17, 2021, the United States Government joined officials at the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) to celebrate shared marine conservation and sustainable fisheries achievements attained through the United States Agency for International Development Sustainable Ecosystem Advanced (USAID SEA) project. USAID, through SEA, supported the Government of Indonesia to create 14 new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that cover 1.6 million hectares of ocean, contributing to the government’s target of establishing 30 million hectares of MPAs by 2030.

Launched in 2016, the five-year, $32 million USAID SEA project advanced sustainable fisheries and marine conservation in eastern Indonesia in partnership with MMAF. Through the USAID SEA project, the United States Government; the MMAF; and the provincial governments of Maluku, North Maluku, and West Papua collaborated to protect globally significant marine
ecosystems, improve marine spatial planning, strengthen small-scale fisheries management, and bolster maritime law enforcement. In doing so, USAID SEA also helped more fishers and coastal communities play a role in protecting the resources upon which they depend.

USAID Mission Director Ryan Washburn said: “As an archipelagic country, Indonesia’s commitment to conserve marine biodiversity and advance sustainable fisheries is the foundation for long-term, sustainable economic growth. The United States, through USAID, is proud to support Indonesia in achieving these vital development goals, and we remain committed to continuing to do so for the prosperity of current and future generations.”

USAID SEA strengthened provincial marine spatial plans in West Papua, Maluku, and Central Maluku provinces. These plans, covering approximately 17 million hectares, support sustainable economic development and protect critical marine habitats. USAID SEA also improved fishers’ income and fisheries sustainability standards through Fair Trade certification, and as a result, 350 fishers received nearly $80,000 in premiums in 2020 to invest in sustainable initiatives in their communities.

MMAF Secretary General Antam Novambar said in his speech: “We acknowledge the USAID SEA project’s tremendous assistance in Indonesia’s Fisheries Management Area 715 through a series of strategic activities. The USAID SEA programs, training and innovations will help sustain marine and fisheries governance in our work with a broad range of stakeholders in the future. All of this has been to support the MMAF mission attaining our sovereignty and sea sustainability in Indonesia, as well as improving the prosperity of coastal people and food Security.”

As part of its conclusion, USAID SEA analyzed the effectiveness of MPAs for safeguarding the condition of coral reefs and fish biomass. In over half of the MPAs, the coral reefs and fish biomass either stayed stable or improved during USAID support (from 2017 to 2020). This illustrates the potential for MPAs to revitalize the marine ecosystem and fish stocks on which coastal communities depend.

“We still have a lot of work to do. Every action we take moving forward can contribute to our shared goals: healthy people, healthy ecosystems, and a healthy planet for future generations,” added Washburn.

For more information, visit http://indonesia.usaid.gov/ or contact USAID Communications Officer Swiny Andina at sandina@usaid.gov or +628118080084.