Indonesians Learn Fisheries Management


A delegation of Indonesian officials studied sustainable fisheries management at URI in September and returned home with knowledge, skills and a commitment to craft their nation’s first fisheries management plan.

Sixteen government and university representatives participated in the three-week program “Leadership for Fisheries Management” offered by the Coastal Resources Center of the Graduate School of Oceanography and the Fisheries Center of the College of Environment and Life Sciences. The group, with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), sought out a custom program at URI because of the university’s record of innovation in fisheries, its long history of collaboration with Indonesia, and its experience providing a rich, hands-on learning experience. Indonesia’s fisheries leaders knew they needed more than a traditional training class to prepare to develop a national plan for ecologically sustainable, economically strong and resilient fisheries.

The participants split their time between the Bay Campus and East Farm’s Fisheries Center, and spent time in Point Judith, Jamestown and Hyannis, Mass., listening to and speaking with fishermen, fish processors, local and regional government officials and others. They toured a processing facility one day and went trawling to study selectivity on Narragansett Bay another day.

Yet, the program wasn’t about simply talking to the locals. These fisheries experts were here to learn how to come together as leaders and present a plan to their nation in an effective and convincing way. CRC’s Brian Crawford, one of the course instructors and a fisheries expert, said he could see the participants become more cohesive as the days passed. “They really bonded as a group and developed a degree of trust. That goes a long way since they have been designated as an intra-agency task force to design Indonesia’s first-ever adaptive co-management process for one of the most important fisheries management areas in Indonesia, the Arafura Sea,” Crawford said.

That plan was beginning to take shape by the end of the three weeks because course leaders Crawford, Glenn Ricci of CRC and Kathy Castro of CELS put the participants right to work. They broke into small groups to develop draft elements of a fisheries management planning strategy for their nation, presented their work to the group, and had it openly critiqued. “This is a good learning process for us,” said Saut Tampubolon of the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries. “I am more confident about contributing and taking part in developing a plan.”

Participants will continue to gain from URI’s singular approach to fisheries management after returning to Indonesia: CRC and URI Fisheries Center staff will stay in touch with them to gauge their progress and offer advice.

Media Contact: Todd McLeish, 401-874-7892

Photo courtesy of Klearchos Kapoutsis