Shrimp cultivation is a fishery commodity which accounts for 15% of the total value of global fishery trade. This makes shrimp farming a significant contribution to the local economy. By implementing sustainable aquaculture practices, this economic growth can go hand in hand with global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This is the focus of the collaboration between Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) and PT. Indonesia Infrastructure Guarantee (Persero)/PT PII in the Community-Based Mangrove Forest Management program through Sustainable Shrimp Cultivation which was launched on December 1, 2021, with assistance locations in Pegat Batumbuk Village, Derawan Island District, Berau Regency, East Kalimantan Province.
“Berau Regency is listed as an area that has the largest mangrove ecosystem in East Kalimantan Province. However, the unplanned opening of shrimp farms is the main driver of mangrove deforestation. Most of the shrimp farms in the Berau Delta are large, ranging from 5 to 25 hectares. The size of this pond is inversely proportional to its productivity which is only 27 kg per hectare per cycle. This low productivity is one of the reasons to open new shrimp ponds in order to get more economic benefits,” explained YKAN Director of Oceans Program Muhammad Ilman.
This change in the function of mangrove land can have a negative impact on the ecosystem, as well as threaten the livelihoods of coastal communities. To overcome this, YKAN together with the Research Institute for Brackish Water Aquaculture and Fisheries Extension, Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, introduced the SECURE (Shrimp-Carbon Aquaculture) approach. This approach is carried out by redesigning the shrimp pond to a smaller size and combining it with mangrove hydrological restoration.
“Through the SECURE approach, currently 10 hectares of active shrimp ponds have been restored to 2 hectares of shrimp ponds. While the remaining area of 8 hectares is used as a mangrove restoration area that will support natural food for shrimp and fish, and reduce carbon emissions. The SECURE approach helps increase pond productivity by involving local communities in restoring some unproductive ponds into healthy mangroves. This method is also applied in sustainable pond management in Kampung Pegat Batumbuk which is supported by PT. PII. We believe that collaborative efforts are the key to conservation,” explained YKAN Executive Director Herlina Hartanto.
PT PII has committed to support the implementation of SECURE which uses a livelihoods approach that is in line with mangrove conservation efforts. The cooperation between YKAN and PT PII in Pegat Batumbuk will last for a period of three years. In the SECURE pond management stage, the community will be assisted as well as given information and training on sustainable aquaculture practices. "We realize that infrastructure development also needs to be accompanied by the principle of sustainable practice, for the sake of preserving Indonesia's nature. This is what made us called to support the Community-Based Mangrove Forest Management Program through Sustainable Shrimp Cultivation in Berau District. The ability of mangroves to absorb carbon makes it one of the main strategies in mitigating climate change. Based on the study of natural climate solutions, mangroves contribute 3% to the national emission reduction target,” explained PT PII President Director M. Wahid Sutopo.
Balance for sustainability
Efforts to protect the mangrove ecosystem in Berau Regency indirectly support the production of capture fisheries and aquaculture. As a habitat for shrimp, fish and crabs, the mangrove ecosystem has an important meaning for fishermen and farmers, as well as the coastal communities of Berau Regency. “The implementation of the SECURE Program in Kampung Pegat Batumbuk is expected to promote and expand the reach of farmer groups to support government efforts in the mangrove restoration program, and support the efforts of the Berau District Government in providing access to knowledge and assistance to the community in a participatory manner. Through this program, the community can develop the local economy by protecting the nature that has protected them,” explained YKAN Director of Development and Marketing Ratih Loekito.
Like two sides of a coin, conservation must go hand in hand with economic activity. On the other hand, economic activities must consider conservation aspects. “In the context of mangrove restoration and sustainable aquaculture, the Berau District Government together with YKAN and other parties continue to promote alternative efforts to bridge the economic and ecological aspects. A number of initiatives that we carried out in Berau Regency to promote this, were carried out by piloting a mangrove restoration model in active ponds, by bridging the interests of ecosystem restoration and the sustainability of shrimp production. Therefore, we welcome this initiative and express our gratitude and appreciation to YKAN and PT PII who have worked together to provide support to the Berau Regency Government in supporting sustainable development, especially in the fisheries sector," concluded the Head of the Berau Regency Fisheries Service, Tenteram Rahayu.
Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara (YKAN) is a scientific-based non-profit organization that has been present in Indonesia since 2014. With the mission of protecting lands and waters as life support systems, we provide innovative solutions to realize the harmony of nature and humans through effective natural resource management, prioritizing a non-confrontational approach, and building a network of partnerships with all stakeholders for a sustainable Indonesia. For more information, visit ykan.or.id.