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4.1 Background

Irian Jaya (formerly West Irian), the largest province of Indonesia, has an area of 422 000 km2* or about 22 percent of the total land area of the country. The province is located between latitude 0°19'S and 10°43'S; and longitude 130°45'E and 150°48'E and is 1 200 km (750 mi) from east to west and 730 km (410 mi) at its widest portion from north to south. It has a population of 923 440 (1971) or equivalent to 2 persons per km2 as against 65 per km2 for the entire country (Table 1). The province is sparsely populated and is covered by 80 percent forest. The coastal zones are low or swampy especially in the south while the interior consists of highlands with peaks up to 5 500 meters. The climate is tropical with temperature ranging from 10°C (50°F) in the highlands to 35°C (95°F) in the lowlands. The rainfall varies from 140 cm (55 in) to 750 cm (300 in) per year (Table 2). Inspite of its sparse population, with its large area and diverse ecological characteristics, the province has very high potential for development. Valuable natural resources - mines, oil, including fisheries have been noted. The government expressed great interest in the development of the province and special interest is given by external assistance agencies specially the United Nations which put up the Funds of the United Nations for the Development of West Irian (FUNDWI).

The Irian Jaya Joint Development Foundation (IJJDF) is a recent offshot of FUNDWI. This Foundation, jointly sponsored by the UNDP and the Government of Indonesia, aims to stimulate and assist small scale development projects through easy payment loans and technical assistance. Fisheries such as the development of shrimp culture in the south coast has come to the attention of IJJDF; this was the objective of the Adviser's trip to the province.

4.2 Fisheries of the province

The overall production of fish from Indonesia during the period from 1967 to 1971 was from 1.1 to 1.2 million tons of which 7 000 to 8 000 tons or about 0.6 percent was produced from Irian Jaya (Tables 4 and 4a). This came from marine capture fisheries (7 150 t), inland capture fisheries (920 t) and inland culture fisheries (30 t). Of long existence are traditional methods of fishing using small and medium-sized canoes either motorized or not, hooks and lines, beach seines, traps, spears, cast nets, etc. Recently commercial type fisheries started to be introduced. Skipjack pole fishing has been carried out by the Provincial Office of Fisheries and this year the Asian Development Bank (ASDB) approved a loan for the Irian Jaya Fisheries Development Project which will be mainly concerned with this type of fishery. A joint venture with a foreign concern has also been established for shrimp fishing off the south coast of the province.

* This includes areas of adjacent islands

The FAO/UNDP Fisheries Development and Fisheries Training Projects that operated in the area have indicated the feasibility of commercial fisheries in fishing grounds within the province. These findings form the basis of the ASDB loans and the joint ventures developing in the province. Besides, with the rapid development in other sectors (mineral resources exploitation, oil drilling, etc.) the transmigration resulting in the formation of local market demand is bound to come and the necessary infrastructures are also coming up gradually which can likewise be of help in fisheries development. The export possibilities of some of the fishery products of the province is also being considered (Table 10).

In the aquaculture sector the development has been very meagre and has been limited to inland freshwater. This was stimulated by the FUNDWI 22 Inland Fisheries Development Project which operated in the province in 1969–1971. A follow-up to this project under FAO/FFHC programme has been approved and is expected to be operational shortly. The basis of this development is the presence of extensive inland water areas - lakes, rivers, etc. (Tables 5, 5a) and the heavy rainfall (150–750 cm) which can supply water for man-made impoundments or ponds. The Government has established a number of hatcheries and private fishponds of limited sizes have also been constructed (Tables 6, 7, 8,9). These food production projects are of strategic importance especially in the isolated interior districts of the province. However, the production from these sources is still very limited (Tables 4a, 6).

The province abounds with extensive areas of swamps mainly mangrove specially along the south coast. It is estimated that there are about 500 000 hectares of such areas, some portions of which can be suitable for development into brackish water ponds for the raising of finfish and/or shrimps.

The Directorate-General of Fisheries (DGF), under the Ministry of Agriculture in Jakarta, is responsible for carrying out the fisheries development programme and the administration of current activities of the fisheries sector. The DGF has regional offices in 26 provinces including the province of Irian Jaya. The regional offices are responsible for carrying out fishery programmes and collecting statistical data. The chief of the regional fishery office is appointed by the Director-General of Fisheries.

The regional or provincial fishery office usually has a counterpart fishery unit for each district (Kabupaten) within the province. Local fishery officers, where needed in fishery development centres in smaller political units or municipalities are also often provided.

4.3 Coastal fisheries and aquaculture in the south coast

The south coast of the province is low flat land with extensive swamps and criscrossed by numerous rivers. The tidal fluctuation along this coast is high (3–8 meters); there is an extensive tidal flat and coastal shelf in this part of the province. These are suitable for coastal fishing. It is apparent that conditions for inshore coastal fishing are favourable as well as the resources available for exploitation. The methods used are generally traditional; in the Merauke area, beach seines, hooks and lines and traps are common. The methods are labour-intensive, of low productivity but this is further limited by the capacity of market, the storage facilities available and lack of processing facilities.

Fishermen population of artisanal type has developed along the coastal districts of the province, of which more than 50 percent come from the south coast with heavy concentration at Merauke (Table 1). A fishermen's cooperative with 300 members has been organized in Merauke. Through this cooperative a training centre for local fishermen was put up by the district fishery office and limited assistance for freezer storage and marketing the shrimp catch has been set up.

The aquaculture potential along this coast is great but future development will be limited by the tidal characteristics existing along the different coastal sectors of the province. Table 3 shows that in the coastal area from the extreme northeast at Jayapura to an area toward the northwest at Manokwari the tidal fluctuations are so limited (50–100 cm) that coastal ponds which will depend on the tides for water supply and drainage would be difficult to manage. The region from Manokwari to the extreme west at Sorong and down to the southwest and south as far as Mimika/Muara River near Kokonau has tidal fluctuations of 1 to 3 meters which are suitable for brackish water pond management. Farther, in the area in the south from Agats to the extreme southeast of the province at Merauke the tidal fluctuations vary from 4.5 to 8.5 meters making this section of the coast unsuitable for pond management operations. These tidal characteristics of the coast limit the areas suitable for development to the south, south-west, west and northwest coastal areas of the province (Appendix 3).

The soil conditions were found to be predominantly clay loam to sandy clay (as seen in Merauke area) which could be suitable soil for pond construction and management. The mangrove vegetation vary from medium size to big mangrove growth which means that a lot of clearing has to be done in developing an area for fishpond purposes.

Another problem which faces coastal aquaculture development is the lack of entrepreneurs for this industry. The sparse population and lack of training for this work aggravate the situation. However, with the large potential for development in the province specially in the southwest coast, the early initiation of this industry would be advisable and entrepreneurship should be developed through training of the local population or transmigration from the populous fishpond centres in Java or Sulawesi.

Under present circumstances wherein large tracts of swamplands can still be easily acquired IJJDF can spearhead development in this sector by acquiring a large contiguous site preferably near Kokonau with an area of 500, 1 000 or 2 000 hectares or more for which a plan of development can be drafted. The selection of suitable site, drawing up of layout plans and construction specifications, and formulating a management programme can be made through a team of consultants which should consist of an aquaculture specialist, an engineer and an economist/marketing specialist. In this case, the Foundation could either undertake the construction and management by hiring its own personnel or it could have the work subcontracted for the selection of site and planning, and management of the project during the initial years of operation.

Even as early as the selection of site and construction stage, the local population or transmigrated ones from Java or Sulawesi can be involved as prospective future operators of the area to be developed. Although starting with an extensive trapping type set-up, the developed area should gradually be subdivided into 5- to 10-ha family lots which can be disposed on easy payment plan to the entrepreneurs that will get training during the early operation of the project. Species of finfish or shrimps with high economic demand can be raised in these ponds. During the initial stage of operation of the project, some inputs from IJJDF will be required for preliminary processing, handling, storage and marketing of the crop.

If the Foundation, due to other commitments, would be unable to support this type of development, an alternative plan would be to initiate work in this field through UNDP or bilateral assistance support for a project on “Development of Artisanal Fishing and Aquaculture in the Southern Coast of Irian Jaya”. Brief explanation of this project idea including its budgetary requirements are included in APPENDIX 2. As this project may have future investment potentials, the IJJDF may find it appropriate to participate actively in its formulation.

4.4 Technical assistance needs on fisheries

The IJJDF can greatly promote small-scale fisheries development projects if it employs with its staff a fisheries development specialist. It is advisable that such a staff be a regular member of the Foundation personnel but if this cannot be done, employment of one for a period of 6 to 12 months can also be advantageous. Besides this, short term consultancies of about 3 man/months each is advisable for the following specialized fields:

  1. Improvement of fishing technique in inshore coastal areas

  2. Resource evaluation of the fishery of the different shrimp species in the south coast

  3. Crocodile biology and culture

  4. Resource evaluation of the giant freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium sp.) in the province specially in the southern region

  5. Survey of the kinds and availability of eel (Anguilla) elvers in Irian Jaya

  6. Survey of the availability of Chanos chanos fry in Irian Jaya

With appropriate arrangements some of these consultancies may be available from existing national projects which are now receiving UNDP/FAO assistance. It is envisioned that these specialized expertise may lead to the formulation of projects or provide technical assistance which may contribute to the economic progress of the province.

4.5 Development of inland fisheries

The status of the inland fisheries development resulting from the work promoted by the FUNDWI-assisted Inland Fisheries Development Project was evaluated during this trip. Undoubtedly, the Project has stimulated the construction of more inland fish hatcheries which resulted in the rapid increase in the number of fish seedlings that could be available for stocking natural waters and for pond culture (Tables 6, 7, 8 and 9). However, it was noted that some of the hatcheries were too small in area (many less than 1/2 ha and one with only 0.05 ha) that their existence in any one place could be very limited as they would be producing very limited number of fingerlings (Table 8). Also, the assignment of personnel in such small projects could be relatively expensive. It was also reported that some of these hatcheries may have been located in sites which are not very suitable for this purpose like inadequacy of water supply, poor soil conditions, etc. It was suggested that in subsequent attempts to put up hatcheries, such projects should at least be 1 ha in area, whenever possible, and the suitability of the sites should be very meticulously looked into to avoid inadequacies in future operation. It is also noted that with the species presently used (tilapia, carp, etc.), the production capacity of the fish hatcheries could still be increased. Perhaps an intensified training programme on the improved techniques of seedfish production will accelerate the increase of stocking material. The Central Fish Hatchery and Training Centre at Jabaso, Sentani, with assistance, can intensify its present training programme (APPENDIX 1).

Lake Sentani, one of the major lakes of the province, was visited during the trip and the Provincial Fisheries Office reported some increase in production due to previous stocking of the lake with introduced species particularly with common carp. Large-sized specimens of this species are now being caught in the lake and cage culture for carp has been initiated. But the local fishery biologists report that there still seems to be an unbalanced population of the lake with predominance of predatory species. This was also evidenced by the apparent abundance of plankton producing colouration of the water and the presence of submerged soft vegetation. The condition of the lake shows high fertility being relatively shallow and seemingly with good water circulation, there being a good number of inlets and an outlet. This can be an indication that it has capacity for even higher production of fish. From results obtained from other countries like the Philippines, it is suggested that a trial stocking of milkfish fingerlings be conducted in this lake. These may be obtained from the fishpond centres of Java or Sulawesi and transported by air direct to the Sentani airport which is near the bank of the lake. This being about 10 000-hectare lake at least 100 000 to 1 000 000 fingerlings should be planted to give a stocking rate of approximately 10 to 100 fish per hectare (fishponds are stocked at 1 000–8 000/ha). To guide future management programmes, the results of this stocking should be monitored.

4.6 Other activities

During the period from 27 – 29 October the Adviser attended the IPFC Working Party on Aquaculture and Environment, Jakarta, Indonesia. An information paper entitled, “The Potentials of Aquaculture Development in the Indo-Pacific Region” (IPFC/74/INF 18) was presented in this Working Party.

Field trip was made to the FAO/UNDP Brackish Water Shrimp and Milkfish Culture Research and Development Project, Jepara, Central Java on 2–4 November.

Attended the IPFC Symposium on the Economic and Social Aspects of National Fisheries Planning and Development (30 October-1 November) and IPFC 16th Session (2–6 November).

Stopover in Singapore and discussed with officials of the Primary Production Department the Government's request on aquaculture to the South China Sea Programme. A separate report of results of this discussion was transmitted to the Programme Leader.

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