The ATSEA-2 program was initiated by four coastal countries -- Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Timor-Leste -- since 2019 to support marine and fisheries governance in these waters.
"We appreciate the achievements of the ATSEA-2 project. Its activities are in line with Indonesia's policy that prioritizes ecology to manage marine and fisheries resources," the ministry's secretary general, Antam Novambar, stated at the 5th Regional Steering Committee Meeting of the ATSEA-2 Project in Jakarta on Tuesday.
According to Novambar, the five blue economy priority policies that have been highlighted are expanding marine conservation areas; quota-based measurable fishing; development of sustainable marine, coastal, and land cultivation; policies for monitoring and controlling coastal areas and small islands; and policies for handling marine plastic debris through fishermen's participation movements.
"This project will last until the end of 2024. We must continue to ensure the management of the Arafura and Timor regions and ensure that the governance structure at the regional level is part of the inter-ministerial declaration (at the Ministerial Forum)," he remarked.
Novambar then expressed his side's commitment to carrying out the remaining project activities and preparing for the implementation of the ATSEA program with an updated national action plan with neighboring countries in the Arafura and Timor seas.
Related news: ATSEA-2 Project: Indonesia endorses MPA supporting sea sustainability
On the same occasion, the ministry's Head of the Marine and Fisheries Research and Human Resources Agency, Nyoman Radiarta, stated that the ATSEA-2 meeting also produced an action plan as an implementation of the jointly prepared document.
"Today's meeting is a meeting of four countries to discuss action plans for all aspects, not only fisheries management but also illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing) and the involvement of women and communities in the Arafura and Timor seas," he remarked.
In addition, he noted that management in these waters is very relevant following the start of the measured fishing program (PIT) that will be applied in 2024.
"The Arafura and Timor seas are included in zone three for measurable use of fish and are included in the priority for expanding conservation area development," he pointed out.
Meanwhile, Regional Project Manager for the ATSEA-2 program, Handoko Adi Susanto, outlined several field programs that have been implemented and will continue to be applied in four countries, including in Indonesia, with field programs in Merauke, Rote Ndao, and Aru.
"We also have women's empowerment programs, training, and efforts to eradicate IUU fishing in Indonesia and other countries. ATSEA programs are not merely a project but also a formal collaboration between four countries," he remarked.
Related news: Indonesian, Australian navies conduct survey in Timor Sea border area