"We face the same challenges in the marine sector, so we need joint solutions," US Ambassador to Indonesia Joseph Donovan stated during an event of the Investment and Business Forum held at the office of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in Jakarta on Thursday.
Donovan noted that Indonesia has an important role in the maritime world; hence, the US government will support its Indonesian counterpart to preserve the diversity of the beautiful and unique marine ecosystems.
The US ambassador pointed out that his side also has a new regional partnership program in place to strengthen the eradication of illegal fishing, promote sustainable fisheries, and conserve marine biodiversity in the Asia-Pacific region, among others.
The program called "The Oceans and Fisheries Partnership" is a collaboration between the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center.
The backbone of the program is the development and implementation of a catch documentation and traceability system (CDTS) that is financially sustainable and specific to every country.
The CDTS will be integrated with the existing government system and will include the data elements of human welfare. It will be implemented in line with the fisheries management framework using an ecosystem approach.
With regard to import regulations, a traceability system will offer a way to combat illegal fishing through a market-based approach and provide a huge opportunity for the government to improve the welfare of fishermen.
The system could also prevent illegal trade, improve the efficiency of the fishing industry, provide accurate information, improve policies based on evidence and decision-making for law enforcement, and help secure the rights and boost the welfare of fishermen.
"We highlight a strong partnership in the fields of conservation and illegal fishing that are also a priority of the Indonesian nation," Donovan emphasized.
He noted that the USAID was supporting conservation efforts in Indonesia for the last 24 years, and it was a long-term commitment of the US government.
Meanwhile, Secretary General of the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry Sjarief Widjaja expressed hope that the strengthening of bilateral cooperation would also increase productivity of the fisheries sector, ensure food security and nutrition, as well as offer sustainable livelihoods through the conservation program for marine habitats and species.
"In the end, we want to promote sustainable fisheries and prevent illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing," he added.
(Reported by Muhammad Razi Rahman/Uu.M052/INE/KR-BSR/A014)