Involving local fishing communities in policy making: Addressing Illegal fishing in Indonesia
Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing has been identified by the UN as one of the seven major threats to global maritime security; it causes loss of economic revenue, severe environmental damage, and far-reaching livelihood implications for coastal communities. Indonesia, by far the biggest archipelagic state, faces enormous challenges in all aspects of IUU fishing and addressing those is one of the current Indonesian Government's top priorities. This article addresses the under-researched dimension of how IUU fishing affects fishing communities. With the use of collage making focus groups with fishermen from different Indonesian fishing communities, the research highlights the interrelated environmental (depletion of resources), socio-economic (unbridled illegal activities at sea), cultural (favouritism) and political (weak marine governance) dimensions of IUU fishing as experienced at the local level. However, the research also indicates a strong will by fishermen to be seen as knowledge agents who can help solve the problem by better dissemination of information and cooperation between the local government(s) and the fishing communities. The article concludes by arguing for the involvement of local fishing communities in national and international policy making that addresses IUU fishing.