Degree Name

Master of Martitime Studies


Faculty of Law


The major goals of this research were: (i) to review and evaluate the Java Sea fisheries legal, policy and management framework in particular, with respect to the demersal fishery; and, (ii) to investigate the current information available for assessment of the Java Sea fisheries resources and their sustainability. To achieve these goals, the complexities of Indonesia’s fisheries management and policy framework have been critically reviewed. In addition, fisheries statistical data and information has been collected from national, provincial and district governments surrounding Java Sea, which includes 7 provinces and 31 districts. Finally, to investigate the problems and issues in implementing the current fisheries laws and regulations, interviews with fisheries management authorities at all levels of government have been carried out and observations of fishing vessels and fishing activities have been made throughout the region.

Large-scale development of demersal fisheries in the Java Sea occurred in the late 1960s, after the introduction of trawl fishing. This was promoted by strong international demand for shrimp, especially from Japan. As a result, the Java Sea demersal fisheries became very important as a source of fish for domestic consumption and as raw materials for fish processing, resulting in new industries and creating local job opportunities. The average contribution of Java Sea fisheries to the national marine fisheries production during the period from 1985 to 2008 was about 23.5 %. To deal with the increasing exploitation of fisheries resources, the Indonesian Government enacted Fisheries Law No. 9 (1985), later followed by Fisheries Law No. 31 (2004). These laws covered most aspects of fisheries in Indonesia, including jurisdiction, management, exploitation, development, delegation of responsibilities, as well as monitoring, control and surveillance. The objective of these statutes was to obtain maximum social and economic benefits from fishery resources while guaranteeing the sustainability for future generations. However, despite the good intention of these laws, this review found that there remain major problems in implementation, particularly in relation to the lack of agreement concerning the sharing of the marine jurisdiction and fisheries management responsibilities among the national, provincial and district governments within Indonesia. Another major issue is the continued open access nature of the Indonesian fisheries. In general, fisheries officers understood the fisheries laws very well, but found it difficult to implement in a practical sense.

The official statistics collected as part of this study indicated that the demersal fisheries of the Java Sea were heavily exploited, particularly by small-scale vessels, which dominated fishing activity in most regions. However, field observations also provided evidence that there were many more vessels than recorded in the official statistics. Many of these vessels were unregulated, due to their small size, and a proportion of these catches go unreported, directly to the crews or buyers (not through markets). As a result there was a significant component of the demersal fisheries of the Java Sea that were illegal, unreported and/or unregulated (IUU). In addition, it was found that current official catch statistics were very poorly collected and, by the time they were documented in reports, the data have been aggregated in such a way as to be of little use in managing particular fish species or fishing activities.

This analysis of the Indonesian fisheries assessment and management framework has revealed a picture of management gaps, data inconsistency and indequacy of regulations to achieve the sustainability of fish resources. As a result, there remains a high level of IUU fishing throughout the Java Sea and a general lack of monitoring, control and surveillance. The open-access nature of the fisheries and complexity of fish licensing systems, split between three levels of government, make planning and enforcement difficult. Improved laws and regulations and better co-ordination between different levels of government are required in order to move progressively toward the development of fisheries management plans for major fisheries and regions.



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.