Economic Contribution to Ecosystem-Based Management in the Birds Head Seascape, Papua, Indonesia


Megan Bailey (Doctoral Student)
Ussif Rashid Sumaila


Conservation International
Fisheries Ecosystems Restoration Research group at UBC

Research Project Description

Raja Ampat, in Eastern Indonesia, boasts the highest coral reef biodiversity in the world, and is therefore an important area not only for fishing and tourism, but also for conservation. In an effort to understand this ecosystem, development of an ecosystem based management (EBM) framework was initiated by Conservation International, The Nature Conservancy, and World Wildlife Fund. The economic component of this project was our particular focus. Specifically, our objective was to look at the economics of unregulated and illegal fishing in Raja Ampat. An unregulated anchovy fishery and the illegal use of dynamite and explosives in the region were studied.

Fishermen unloading their catch. Photo by Megan Bailey 


To study an unregulated fishery, we conducted interviews with anchovy fishermen twice, once in the spring (dry season) and fall (wet season) of 2006. Information from these interviews was used to estimate the catch, income and profitability of the fishery. To study an illegal fishery, a principal-agent analysis was conducted. Principal-agent analysis is a type of game theory that is applicable when there is specific ownership over a resource. In the case of small scale fisheries in Raja Ampat, the village chief is the informal legal owner of coastal resources.


The catch and profitability of the unregulated anchovy fishery proved to be quiet substantial (see Marine Policy paper linked below). In the principal-agent analysis, we identified a disincentive structure that would essentially discourage the use of these illegal fishing gears. This structure was based on the probability of detecting illegal fishing, and the penalty applied to apprehended fishers. Results from this study can be found in chapter three of the Research Report (16(1)) linked below.

Funding sources

Conservation International 
Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

Project Duration

January 2006 – January 2007

Project Publications
Bailey, M., C. Rotinsulu, and U.R. Sumaila. 2008. The migrant anchovy fishery in Kabui Bay, Raja Ampat, Indonesia: Catch, profitability and income distribution. Marine Policy 32: 483-488

Bailey, M, and T.J. Pitcher. 2008. Ecological and economic analyses of marine ecosystems in the Bird’s Head Seascape, Papua, Indonesia: II. Fisheries Centre Research Reports 16(1): 186 pp

Pitcher, T.J., C.A. Ainsworth, and M. Bailey. 2007. Ecological and economic analyses of marine ecosystems in the Bird’s Head Seascape, Papua, Indonesia: I. Fisheries Centre Research Reports 15(5): 184 pp.




Last Updated: November 2008.