Locating Traditional Marine Tenure in the Indonesian Fisheries Management

Dedi Supriadi Adhuri (LIPI)


One of Prof. James J. Fox —or Pak Jim as we call him— concerns on Ecology and Development is Indonesian marine fisheries/fishing communities. His presentation in the 1995 Indonesian Update conference might highlight his main attention on these issues. These cover fisheries in general, conservation and resource management, marine tenure and Indonesian fishing in Australian Fishing Zone (AFZ). When he presented the paper, I was studying marine tenure in Kei Islands. Since then I have not only finished my study in Kei but have been expanding my study both in terms of research sites and issues. For the former, I studied marine tenure in Sulawesi, Papua, Lombok and Aceh, and for the latter I looked at the fisheries policies and involved in the process of reviewing the policies. I also involved in action-based research/intervention for the development of a better small scale fisheries management using marine tenure as the foundation of the practice. This paper will present some results of these studies and some reflections from my involvement in legal-political process and on the ground intervention in fisheries sector. In so doing, I will share some positive development on the issue that pak Jim worried in his 1995 talk that ‘nowhere in Eastern Indonesia local marine tenure exists in a secure enough fashion to sustain local resources.’ Although it might be still some time to see for local marine tenure to be completely secured, the Indonesian legal reform after the collapsed of the New Order Regime has acknowledged the presence and important of the tenure. In fact, conservation NGOs that used to neglect and exclude small scale fishers and their tradition in their conservation efforts, have started to include the fishers and incorporate marine tenure.

Keywords: Marine tenure, Fisheries management, Fisheries policy