Our Ocean 2018: USAID Oceans Partners Pledge Commitments to Sustainability, Traceability, Maritime Security
On October 29-30, 2018, USAID Oceans joined members of government, private sector, and philanthropists in Bali, Indonesia for the fifth Our Ocean Conference—a conference series that was launched in 2014 by Former US Secretary of State, Mr. John Kerry. USAID Oceans’ attendance was accompanied by many of its partners including Thai Union, Yayasan Masyarakat dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI), the SOCSKSARGEN Federation of Fishing and Allied Industries, Inc. (SFFAII), Anova Food, LLC, and others.
Over the two days, US$10.8 was pledged in commitments by members of the public, private and NGO sectors in support of marine protected areas, climate change, sustainable fisheries, marine pollution, blue economy and maritime security. At the conference, Indonesia alone pledged 23 commitments amounting to over US$80 million. When combined with support from NGO, corporations, and governments such as the United States, Indonesia’s pledges amounted to nearly US$500 million.
Commitments made by USAID Oceans partners, including the Government of Indonesia, illustrate a growing commitment across the public and private sectors to protect Southeast Asia’s waters and its global resources.
At the conference, Indonesia announced its commitment to, “implement the electronic fishing logbook to Indonesian fishing vessels authorized to operate in 11 Fisheries Management Areas of the Republic of Indonesia and the High Seas. This program will be started at the end of 2018 for 3.887 fishing vessels over 30 GT, whereas in 2019 it will include 10,984 fishing vessels over 10 GT.” The Government of Indonesia noted that, “The program will be implemented in collaboration with fishing port authorities (central and local governments), harbormasters (MMAF and MOT), and USAID Oceans aiming to improve the quality and quantity of data as a foundation for making strong policy in fisheries management; to strengthen the traceability system for Indonesia fisheries products; to promote fishers’ compliance; and to prevent Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing activities in general.”
The Government of Indonesia pledges a commitment during an Open Floor Announcement, Bali, Indonesia. Photo: USAID Oceans/Melinda Donnelly
USAID Oceans has initiated its support to Indonesia on this initiative and is currently supporting the government to recruit and equip fishing vessels with the required traceability technology in its program learning site (Fisheries Management Area 716) of Bitung, Indonesia.
Commitments made by other partners included those by Anova Food USA, the largest importer of frozen sashimi tuna in North America, who pledged to, “…continue to support the implementation of full-chain traceability and efforts to combat IUU through its direct participation in the USAID Oceans and Fisheries Partnership and, in line with the Tuna 2020 Traceability Declaration;” the Government of the Philippines; grantees MDPI and SFFAII; and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. While all commitments were not directly related to USAID Oceans’ work, all will greatly benefit Southeast Asia’s waters, marine resources, and all that depend on them.
At the conference, USAID Oceans was also honored to serve on a panel hosted by the Coral Triangle Initiative for Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security (CTI-CFF), entitled the “Strategic Direction for Coral Triangle: Update and Way Forward for the next Regional Plan of Action.” USAID Oceans’ Regional Catch Documentation and Traceability Specialist, Mr. Farid Maruf, served as a panelist, sharing USAID Oceans’ experiences in combating IUU practices in Southeast Asia through traceability technology and the value in regional sharing of experiences and lessons learned. “USAID Oceans has learned that countries have immense value to share with each other, like Indonesia and the Philippines. Currently, each country is working with USAID Oceans to advance their digital traceability systems but is learning from each other about their unique solutions at each stage of the supply chain.”
Panelists at the CTI-CFF Side Session, October 30, 2018.