Supporting Marine Fishing Sustainably: A review of central and provincial government support for marine fisheries in Indonesia

This report provides—for the first time—an open-access database of support measures for marine fisheries by the Indonesian central government and three provincial governments (Aceh, Maluku, and North Sulawesi) based on information from government sources. It recommends an in-depth assessment of the socio-economic and environmental impacts of fuel support and support to vessel construction, modernization, or fishing equipment.

By Anissa Suharsono, Ahmad Mustofa, Nuraini, Lalu Hizbulloh, Tristan Irschlinger, Sari Tolvanen on July 26, 2021
  • Central government support varies between USD 140 and USD 210 million a year, but it is unclear whether it always achieves its desired socio-economic impacts without undermining the environmental viability of the sector.

  • 50% of central government support for fisheries is provided via fuel subsidies. Preliminary evidence suggests this benefits boat owners more than low-income fishers and can encourage overfishing.

  • Provincial-level support focus on vessel acquisition, modernization, and equipment. These measures are mostly targeted at pelagic fisheries, some of which are already fished at unsustainable levels.

Indonesia’s fisheries sector is an important source of nutrition, jobs, and income domestically and plays a key role in the country’s ability to achieve sustainable development. However, a number of fish stocks, including some with high economic value, are already suffering from overfishing, and many others are fully exploited.

Sound fisheries policy is thus essential to ensure fisheries can sustainably deliver socio-economic benefits for the Indonesian population. While some government interventions play a critical role in achieving key public policy objectives such as poverty alleviation, job creation, or resource management, there is strong evidence that certain forms of support can also contribute to the buildup of excessive fishing capacity and the depletion of fish stocks.

Ensuring that public support to fisheries promotes sustainable development in Indonesia thus requires a review of support measures benefiting the sector and their potential implications from a social, economic, and environmental perspective. This report aims to contribute to an informed, evidence-based national discussion in this area by developing an inventory of support measures provided to marine fisheries and identifying specific programs that should be prioritized for detailed evaluation in the future.