Fisheries decline, local livelihoods and conflicted governance: An Indonesian case

Publication Name

Ocean and Coastal Management


This study investigates the social and environmental impacts of the rise and decline of the fishing industry in an Indonesian coastal community as a case study of the conflicted role of governance in marine resource management. It analyses the relationship between two distinct but intersecting fisheries in west Bali: the traditional small-scale artisanal fishery targeting diverse near shore species for the local market, and the large-scale commercial purse seine fleet that exploits the once rich Bali Strait sardine fishery. The recent collapse of the sardine fishery has had a marked impact on the livelihoods of fishers in both the artisanal and commercial sectors. A significant issue for the future of fisheries dependent communities is the need to raise the priority of equity and sustainability in resource governance. The failure of regulatory regimes to control overfishing is found to be a key factor in the unravelling of the local economy and presents an instructive case for analysing the wider implications of a fundamental conflict in the political economy of the global system between unevenly matched market-driven resource use and sustainable development practices. Methodologically, the research combines qualitative and quantitative approaches to compensate for the dearth of data available for the artisanal and commercial fishery sectors respectively. Catch statistics on the rise and decline of the commercial sardine fishery are linked to qualitative information from a longitudinal study on the livelihood impacts of resource decline in a community engaged in both fisheries. In connecting interview data on village level livelihood issues with commercial fishery data, the study highlights the imperative of good governance across scales for policy makers and development practitioners concerned with equity and sustainability of fisheries as a critically important component of global food security.

Open Access Status

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Funding Sponsor

Australian Research Council



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