Coral Triangle, SEAFDEC Member Countries Get First Look at Indonesia Traceability Solutions
In 2015, the Oceans and Fisheries Partnership (USAID Oceans) was launched and program learning sites were established as bases for the program to implement and pilot traceability solutions with the goal of improved fisheries management, human welfare, gender equity—and equally as important, regional learning. On June 25, 2018, USAID Oceans, in partnership with Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC), the Coral Triangle Initiative for Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security (CTI-CFF) and the Indonesia Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) welcomed program partners including SEAFDEC and Coral Triangle (CT) member countries to the USAID Oceans learning site of Bitung, Indonesia. CT partners were joined by representatives from the Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Singapore, Vietnam, and Malaysia, as well as the U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Agency for International Development and the Department of the Interior. Partners convened in Manado, Indonesia for three and a half days of learning sessions, discussion and site visits.
On June 25, pre-site visit learning sessions were held to welcome and brief participants on USAID Oceans’ progress in the learning site of Bitung and the technology solutions that would be observed over the coming days. In opening remarks, CTI-CFF Deputy Executive, Dr. Sharifah Nora, noted the importance of the workshop’s convening of representatives around the region, noting, “we are here to show the industry our concern over the sustainability of our fisheries. In order for our efforts to be successful, we cannot work alone. We have to work together, both in the context of government and industry, and in the context of national and regional entities.”
In concurrence with this, participants and USAID Oceans representatives engaged in discussion to share with each other the challenges that they are working to solve in their efforts toward full traceability and which they could study through the site visits.
Representatives from Papua New Guinea shared, “Two key elements that we’re struggling with are data accuracy and validation, as well as mass balance.”
USAID Oceans’ echoed the importance of data quality, noting its complexity in a field of mixed actors. “While the government is motivated to capture quality data to regulate illegal and unreported fishing, the private sector is motivated by the business value of accurate data. The role of government is very important and one that we’re fully exploring in our pilot sites, however it must also be balanced by private sector engagement and commitment. Each country’s competent authority and government regulations must play a part in ensuring data quality,” noted USAID Oceans’ Catch Documentation and Traceability (CDT) Specialist, Farid Maruf.
Other key, common challenges shared centered around data analysis, data storage, and the interoperability of systems’ individual components. With this, the participants traveled to Bitung on June 26 and 27 to learn more about each of the electronic catch documentation and traceability (eCDT) technology solutions that USAID Oceans is piloting in Bitung and to observe them in use. To achieve full-chain traceability, USAID Oceans is working to implement eCDT technology solutions at each step of the supply chain. USAID Oceans-supported technology is at varying stages of development, implementation and piloting, which provided participants insight into the stages of implementation and the work required to achieve full-chain traceability.
“Growing pains are some of the most valuable learning opportunities, which is why now is the best time for our regional partners to witness the eCDT developments that USAID Oceans is rolling out in Indonesia,” noted Farid Maruf.
Learn more about the technology solutions being implemented in Bitung, Indonesia and visited as part of the CDT Learning Exchange.