Fisheries management and conservation of sharks in Indonesia
Indonesian waters have a high diversity of sharks and rays, with at least 118 species belonging to 25 families found throughout the vast archipelago. Indonesia also has the highest shark landings globally and nearly all high-value shark species are overexploited and could be considered threatened. This situation is of international concern, especially among conservationists and elasmobranch scientists. Most of the shark catch in Indonesian waters is taken as bycatch of fisheries deploying various types of gear, including longlines, driftnets, handlines and purse-seines. However, sharks are also targeted in several regions of eastern and southern Indonesia, where they are often the main source of livelihood for many artisanal fishers. Shark fishing, whether targeted or bycatch, occurs throughout most of Indonesia’s waters, and the large size of the EEZ, which encompasses nearly 6 million km2, is a primary constraint regarding the effective management of shark fisheries. In 2009, 11 fisheries management zones were established through the gazetting of a regulation on regional fisheries, facilitating management by the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries. Here, we discuss how the implementation of a number of regulations gazetted by the Indonesian government to ensure sustainable utilisation of fisheries resources should take into account shark resources. We also examine recent elasmobranch conservation efforts by the government, including the recent designation of whale sharks Rhincodon typus and manta rays Manta alfredi and M. birostris as fully protected species, and a prohibition on exports of products of hammerhead Sphyrna spp. and oceanic whitetip sharks Carcharhinus longimanus.
Keywords: IUU fishing, regulation, shark fisheries