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The history of shark fishing in Indonesia

Tull, M. (2014) The history of shark fishing in Indonesia. In: Christensen, J. and Tull, M., (eds.) Historical Perspectives of Fisheries Exploitation in the Indo-Pacific. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, pp. 63-81.

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Indonesia’s catches of elasmobranchs (sharks, skates and rays) grew rapidly from the 1970s, driven mainly by the demand for shark fins, and by the beginning of the twenty-first century Indonesia was the world’s leading elasmobranch producer. The Indonesian fishery is effectively an open access one and overfishing has led to declining yields in Indonesian waters. Fishers have pushed the geographical catch frontier outwards and this has led to illegal fishing, especially in the Australian Fisheries Zone. Traditionally small scale fishers utilised most of the sharks for food and value-processes including the production of leather, but a large amount of shark is caught as by-catch in industrial fisheries for high value species such as tuna and this has increased the frequency of ‘finning’, a wasteful and cruel practice. The competition from industrial fishing has adversely impacted small scale fishers and their families; the main beneficiaries of the lucrative shark fin trade have been boat owners and traders rather than fishers and their families. A National Plan of Action is needed but complicated by fiscal constraints and the division of powers between the national, Kabupaten (district/regency) and provincial governments. Governance failures in fisheries are unfortunately a widespread problem in the Indo-Pacific Region.

Publication Type: Book Chapter
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Management and Governance
Publisher: Springer
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