Moving toward an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management in the Coral Triangle

Six countries--Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Timor-Leste, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea--have joined forces in a multi-lateral partnership, the ' Coral Triangle Initiative on Coral Reefs, Fisheries, and Food Security (CTI-CFF)', to address significant threats to the marine resources of the most biologically diverse marine ecosystem in the world—the Coral Triangle.

Click below to see Coral Triangle efforts/USAID Missions in which the NOAA Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM) team is engaged.

NOAA Regional Activities for the Application of an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management
Supported by NOAA, USAID Regional Development Mission Asia and the U.S. Department of State

Delegates of the six Coral Triangle countries, resource persons, and observers at the Third Regional Exchange on the Implementation 
                 of EAFM Activities in the Coral Triangle, a meeting held in Kuala Lumpur in May 2012 on ecosystem approaches to fisheries management 
                 (EAFM).  Photo courtesy of the 
                 Maritime Institute of Malaysia.
Delegates of the six Coral Triangle countries, resource persons, and observers at the Third Regional Exchange on the Implementation of EAFM Activities in the Coral Triangle, a meeting held in Kuala Lumpur in May 2012 on ecosystem approaches to fisheries management (EAFM). Photo courtesy of the Maritime Institute of Malaysia.

NOAA is working closely with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)'s Coral Triangle Support Partnership and Program Integrator, as well as partners from the six Coral Triangle countries (CT6) to develop regional and national frameworks and associated roadmaps to support implementation of an ecosystem approach to fisheries management (EAFM) throughout the Coral Triangle region. As part of the greater regional effort of the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI), the PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) is helping build capacity through partnering in the development of EAFM curricula and guidelines, high-level socialization of EAFM, provision of training workshops in the Coral Triangle region, and integration with other CTI efforts (including but not limited to efforts involving Marine Protected Areas (MPA), Climate Change and Adaptation (CCA), and Illegal Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (IUU). CRED and partners are particularly focusing on helping develop strategies to incorporate considerations of climate change and ocean acidification into EAFM. CRED involvement includes (is not limited to) contributions to the following products:

  • "Coral Triangle Regional EAFM Guidelines" and addendum on "Incorporating Climate and Ocean Change into an EAFM Plan"
  • Essential EAFM Training of Trainers curricula (developed in partnership with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem, Coral Triangle Support Partnership, Program Integrator, and IMA International)
  • Regional EAFM LEAD (leaders, executives and decision-makers) training
  • Regional exchanges and support to the CTI EAFM Technical Working Group
  • Climatology (environmental and oceanographic) data and tutorials made available online via the CT Atlas
  • EAFM, Climate Change Adaptation, and Marine Protected Area tool integration
  • High-level socialization of EAFM to national decision makers and managers
  • ... More capacity building on the horizon

Indonesia Partnership
Supported by NOAA, USAID Indonesia and U.S. Department of State

Participants from NOAA, USAID, the Indonesia Marine and Climate Support project, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, and 
                 Jakarta Fisheries University at a meeting held in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2012. NOAA OLE photo courtesy of Ann Mooney.
Participants from NOAA, USAID, the Indonesia Marine and Climate Support project, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, and Jakarta Fisheries University at a meeting held in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2012. NOAA OLE photo courtesy of Ann Mooney.

Because Indonesia is striving for increased capacity for fisheries production, it is important for this country to implement EAFM for sustainability of its fisheries resources, economic development, livelihoods, and food security. In a bilateral effort facilitated by the Indonesia Marine and Climate Support project, NOAA has engaged in government-to-government and peer-to-peer EAFM capacity building and exchanges. As a result of this partnership, the following EAFM training activities have taken place in Indonesia:

  • EAFM 101
  • EAFM LEAD
  • Reef fish stock assessment
  • Fisheries observer
  • Port state measures

In addition, NOAA is working with the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, IMACS, the Marine Protected Area Group, the University of Rhode Island and partners of the Marine Resource Program to develop an overarching fisheries ecosystem management planning framework for Indonesia's large fisheries management areas, or "WPP's". This would serve as a standardized framework that all fisheries management planning activities would need to be based on. To compliment these efforts and assist with development of the fisheries management planning, CRED is assisting in the development of spatial (geographic information system) frameworks to provide managers with the bigger picture of what information they have within their WPP's and where. CRED data management specialists are taking this one step further by assisting with development of more comprehensive data management schemes for research agencies within the ministry.

Timor-Leste Partnership
Supported by NOAA, USAID Timor-Leste and U.S. Department of State

Harvesting at sunset in Timor-Leste in 2012. NOAA photo by Rusty Brainard.
Harvesting at sunset in Timor-Leste in 2012. NOAA photo by Rusty Brainard.

In its youth as an independent country, Timor-Leste is starting from ground level not only to build up its fisheries management capacity but also to simply find out what marine resources it has so that it can manage them. In this bilateral effort, CRED is teaming up with Timor-Leste to assess ocean acidification, climate change, and baselines of fisheries and biodiversity around this country, as well as to examine human dimensions. A five-year partnership focused on capacity building for EAFM has begun with the following activities:

  • Satellite mapping of coral reefs and nearshore ecosystems
  • Stratified fish and benthic surveys
  • Threat assessments for climate change and ocean acidification
  • Capacity building in science for management
  • Hands-on training in assessment efforts and EAFM

Click here to view Timor Leste field activities on the PIFSC Blog.

Philippines: Ocean Acidification, Climate Change, and Biodiversity Baselines
Supported by the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program

A scorpion fish in the Philippines in 2009. Image courtesy of Jacob Asher.
A scorpion fish in the Philippines in 2009. Image courtesy of Jacob Asher.

CRED is working with the Marine Science Institute of the University of the Philippines, Philippines national and provincial government agencies, and community and nongovernmental organizations to deploy assessment and monitoring instruments in Verde Island Passage. This work leads up to and complements the climate change, ocean acidification, and biodiversity baseline assessments in Timor-Leste and potentially Indonesia. Capacity-building efforts in the Philippines aim to help establish an information basis for incorporating considerations of climate change and ocean acidification into long-term planning and implementation of EAFM across the Philippines. In addition, trainees are deploying a subset of the monitoring instruments as part of a greater scientific effort at Tubbataha Reef in the Philippines.