Off and Running–Dr. Ghofar summarizes his opening months with the Crab Council

Now two months into the new job, I am getting up to speed fast as the Crab Council’s Crab Sustainability Envoy. The blue swimming crab sustainability movement in Southeast Asia is a vast effort with numerous stakeholder groups. I have been spending these opening weeks on the job meeting with FIP managers, government personnel and industry players, learning faces, connecting dots and becoming educated on the distinct aspects of each Crab Council sponsored fishery.

My first assignment came in attending the Crab Council’s FIP Managers meeting in Bangkok, Thailand July 28-29. Cohosted with the Monterrey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, the meeting assembled the leading figures in blue swimming crab management to discuss fishery progress and obstacles.

Steve Creech of SEASL spoke on Sri Lanka’s use of Spawning Potential Ratio as a method of assessment for data deficient fisheries, and Dr. Hawis Madduppa of APRI provided updates on Control Document implementation in Indonesia. Each FIP director explained how their in-country organization plans to expand a FIP’s coverage area, engage government in regulation and report publicly on FIP benchmarks. The FIP meeting was a great way to meet the individuals moving FIPs forward and a crash-course education in the immediate and future challenges of blue swimming crab fisheries.

The month of August presented unique opportunities for travel and meetings throughout the country of Indonesia, my base of operations.  I met with Dr. Agus Suherman, Director General of Indonesia’s Capture Fisheries and had a productive conversation on government sustainability involvement. Dr. Suherman pledged to work with APRI by providing legal support at the regional/provincial and district levels to enforce crab size limits and fishing gear bans. In addition, Dr. Suherman will plan future visits to regional fishery sites such as Lampung to gain a better understanding of how sustainability measures are being implemented on the water and further along the value chain.

In addition, discussions with Dr. Ruchimat of Indonesia’s Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries have revealed that a draft for a Ministerial Decree, “Architecture of Indonesian Fisheries Management,” has been completed and is now under review. The “Architecture” document consists of a series of flow charts which formalize the working relationships between the Indonesian FIP stakeholders. This document will make clearer each parties’ function in the FIP and streamline the contributions of industry, management councils and government.

Busy couple of first months for me, but I am learning quickly and encouraged by the deep fishery knowledge of the FIP managers and the Indonesian’s government willingness to support crab sustainability regulations. Have some more travels coming up and look forward to keeping everyone updated on the latest from blue swimming crab country.