11 August 2016

Day 2: South-East Asia and Pacific Regional Fisheries Summit

Written by Roy Palmer, Posted in Fish Net Blog

Ms Pudjiastuti is not your typical fisheries minister in that prior to being brought into the role she was an entrepreneur and specifically had interests in the airline (P.T ASI Pudjiastuti Aviation – Susi Air) and seafood (P.T.ASI Pudjiastuti Marine Product) industries. According to Wikipedia, Ms. Pudjiastuti “came from fifth generation settlers of Pangandaran which is predominately Sudanese who engaged in real estate and livestock trade; was expelled from high school for political activism; is the first Indonesian minister to have never completed a High School education; is divorced; recently tragically lost her eldest son to a heart condition; is known to have tattoos and be a chain smoker.”
From listening to her and hearing about the changes being made in Indonesia through her efforts, we need more ministers like her.

Clearly Ms. Pudjiastuti understands the fishing industry well. She learned the industry from being involved at a Fish Auction Facility in Pangandaran and it was from there that she built her businesses. When you have that background to understanding the fishery issues then it enables you to concentrate on creating positive actions rather than get bogged down in bureaucracy.

2 Roy 1The minister spoke with optimism about the recent signing of a MoU between Indonesia and Vietnam; her Task Force eliminating rogue fishing operators; creating a number of on-line fish markets around Indonesia, the opportunities that quotas may bring, etc. She spoke with sadness about how IUU fishing had damaged small traditional coastal fisheries and how such illegal activities had destroyed communities.

This was a thoroughly great start to the day.

Investing in the transition to sustainable fishing saw moderator Simon Cox pose the question ‘How can capital best be deployed for fisheries reform?’ to speakers Elvi Nasution, chief representative for Indonesia, National Australia Bank; Trip O’Shea, vice-president, Encourage Capital; Ben Ridley, regional head of sustainability affairs, Asia-Pacific, Credit Suisse; and Martyn Schouten, chief executive officer, Rabobank Indonesia.
We learned that estimates of the amount of money required to transition to sustainable fisheries globally are in the region of USD 100 billion– 300 billion with the majority of this being made available for the design and implementation of new governance practices, and more still required for the annual running costs of new governance, monitoring and enforcement mechanisms.

Additionally, public-sector investment might be necessary to buy down excess capacity in fishing fleets and provide new livelihoods for those put out of work. On the private-sector side, assuming reforms are in place, smaller but still significant investment will be needed for supply-chain improvements, new traceability technologies, as well as new and more efficient fleets. For the public and private sectors alike, the capital needs and risk profiles are quite varied, as is the likely mix of capital, which will come from sources including concessional lending and bonds, private equity and impact and mainstream finance. 2 Roy 2From this, we learned that banks do have a definitive plan for engagement in fisheries although questions from the audience indicated they were not being well communicated to the industry and would vary from country to country.

Additionally, there were prospects for what they termed a ‘Green Bond’ which could be an opportunity for raising funds which governments would use to re-organize their fisheries and for sorely needed infrastructure.

I felt the need to highlight that the discussion was based around the term ‘conservation’ which clearly was seen as a burden and a negative to finance. I suggested that we should be looking at this funding as being all about sustainable development relating to food security and nutrition because that was potentially more exciting, as well as being truthful.

Next we heard about another excellent Indonesian initiative when Edi Setijawan, director of sustainable finance, Indonesia Financial Services Authority (OJK), was interviewed by Simon Cox.

The Indonesian government has created a framework for investment in sustainable fisheries and through the regulator of financial services, which has chosen to issue a set of guidelines for this to happen. Another government task force visits banks and explains the process, and they are expected to follow.

What the government is trying to do is eliminate the money lenders within the system who effectively are impacting the small operators – once you are within their web it is difficult to progress. Often times the money lender controls market access for the small operator. By getting the banks to take more responsibility and be more helpful, especially to small operators, it opens the door to expansion, and Mr.Setijawan highlighted that despite some banks not being entirely happy the outcome, they are already seeing an increase in fishery activity and a more stable financial system.

Mr.Setijawan said that banks had for a long time misunderstood the risks of this business and all the government was doing is building trust, getting them to re-visit the prospects and getting a far better understanding that there are actually fewer risks with the small operators.

This approach seems very viable and could be seen as a potential opportunity by many countries. While there are likely challenges in implementing such a framework among domestic banks and regional financial institutions, it does enable the system to be made fair, as generally all the small operators can do is obtain funds from money lenders who are not regulated and can impose any charges they wish. 

2 Roy 3The last panel for the event saw speakers John Scott Younger, director, Nusantara Infrastructure; Suzy Hutomo, executive chairwoman, The Body Shop Indonesia; John Keeler, chief executive officer, Blue Star Foods; and Alan Steele, chief executive officer, Traceall Global, with moderator Jon Fasman discussing building sustainable supply chains.

We learned that Indonesia had been lagging far behind with port infrastructure, but has implemented plans to ensure that they will change this. There had been little to no investment in this area for many years in ports and the consequence of that was inefficiency. With traceability and the Port State Measures Agreement it was essential that countries have streamlined systems to manage this so this was a driver in Indonesia.

The Thai seafood industry has suffered reputational damage in recent years through extreme violations of basic human rights for workers on its fishing vessels. Consumer-facing brands in the U.S. and Europe that buy Thai seafood have had to work hard to retain the confidence of customers that their products are not associated with human trafficking and slavery.

Electronic logbooks were becoming the norm and this was having an influence on shortening supply chains. There is always a fear of change, but with change there can be improvements in systems.

One of the important roles that the group agreed upon was that NGO’s can influence wherever they are working is to establish sustainable practices in every community they work. 2 Roy 4The final discussion before lunch was Kristian Teleki, senior marine advisor, Prince of Wales' International Sustainability Unit, being interviewed by Charles Goddard.

We heard that there had been a meeting in London recently to get an update on the current state of fisheries reform from various global groups and that a report of that would be presented very shortly. Nothing major or new was expected from this (18 issues are raised), but one of the issues Kristian was keen to stress was that there are Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the ocean, and that it was important to link those SDGs rather than deal with them in silos.

The next U.N. World Ocean Summit will be taking place in Fiji in June 2017 –an opportunity he said for some special decisions in taking stock of global fisheries reform.

We need to become fluent in finance and fish – they are two areas with their own languages and we need to understand both in order to get more familiar in each.

After lunch, we went into three interactive workshop sessions which sought to present ideas from all the experts gathered aiming to provide solutions and outcomes where possible.

2 Roy 5The streams were:

1. Accelerating the transition to sustainable fisheries management with presenters to the workshop Mahfuzuddin Ahmed, advisor, agriculture and chair, rural development and food security (agriculture), Asian Development Bank; Nilanto Perbowo, director-general, ministry of marine affairs and fisheries, Indonesia and John David Claussen, program officer, conservation and science, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
• The importance of improving scientific data on the status of stocks and sustainable fishing levels, and of analyzing the benefits of sustainable fisheries management 
• Case studies of improving sustainable fisheries management for priority species and their associated value chains (tuna, blue swimmer crab, snapper, etc.) 
• Policies for sustainable fishing, including rights-based management, gear limits, and reducing by-catch and post-harvest losses

2. Deploying capital for fisheries reform with presenters to the workshop Andrew Bassford, chief executive officer, Marine Change; Claire Delpeuch, fisheries policy economist, natural, resources policy division, directorate for trade and agriculture, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and Neel Inamdar, principal, Wilderness Markets
• Sustainable financing: policies and priorities for investing in sustainable fisheries at all scales
• Developing a framework for investment in sustainable fisheries 
• The role of capital

3. Building sustainable supply chains with presenters to the workshop Peter Woon, founder and partner, EcoHub Global; Robert Tjoanda, founder, Harta Samudra and Mark Boulter, technical and sustainability manager, Sydney Fish Market 
• Seafood traceability and transparency of seafood tracking 
• Market mechanisms for reinforcing sustainable fishing and supply-chain-management best practices

The final session was feedback and outcomes from the streams with moderator Charles Goddard; John David Claussen, program officer, conservation and science, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation; Neel Inamdar, principal, Wilderness Markets; and Mark Boulter, technical and sustainability manager, Sydney Fish Market. 2 Roy 6There was not much new from these outcomes, but having been involved in stream 3, the one statement we came up with that was taken forward to the final session was ‘Shared responsibility maximizes returns to all.’

That is a good ending to the event, with the next event to take place in Bali in February 2017.


About the Author

Roy Palmer

Roy Palmer

I entered the seafood industry in 1972 and since then I have traveled extensively gaining an understanding of global issues relevant to seafood.

Qualified trainer with seafood qualifications and consultant; I work for a number of organisations through my consultancy and write for a number of magazines, etc.

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