Developing sustainable small-scale fisheries livelihoods in Indonesia: Trends, enabling and constraining factors, and future opportunities

Publication Name

Marine Policy


Small-scale fisheries (SSF) provide crucial contributions to livelihoods, food and nutrition security, and the well-being of coastal communities worldwide. In Indonesia, 2.5 million households are involved in SSF production, yet these households are characterised by high poverty rates and vulnerability due to declining ecosystem health and climatic change. In this study we applied the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework to analyse the characteristics and immediate and longer-term outcomes of 20 SSF livelihood-focused intervention programs implemented in coastal communities across the Indonesian Archipelago over the last two decades. Projects covered a wide range of spatial scales, funding providers and key participants. Factors supporting positive program outcomes included application of inclusive and holistic approaches to sustainable livelihoods, implemented and supported over appropriate time frames; use of participatory capacity development methodologies and locally-situated project facilitators; and collaborative engagement with local government, non-government organisations and private-sector actors. However, it was impossible to identify evidenced successes from a longer-term sustainability perspective. Short project timeframes, absence of baseline or monitoring data, pressure for satisfactory reports to donors, and limited post-project evaluation, together with invisibility of women's work and non-commercial exchanges, affected the adequacy of assessments. Given the lack of post-project assessment among projects studied, a thorough review of longer-term project impacts is recommended, guided by the Sustainable Livelihoods Framework, to evaluate sustained improvements in livelihoods outcomes and environmental sustainability. This would support best-practice design and implementation of SSF livelihood-focused interventions, disseminated beyond academia, to influence policy and development to achieve socio-economic equity and environmental goals.

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Funding Sponsor

Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research



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