American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences

Traditional Fishermen in Rote Island: An Alternative Livelihood to Illegal Fishing Activities in the Indonesian-Australian Transboundary Waters

Fred Benu, Paul G. King, AgusNalle and Moni Muskanan

DOI : 10.3844/ajabssp.2018.64.76

American Journal of Agricultural and Biological Sciences

Volume 13, 2018

Pages 64-76


At the moment there are about 210 Indonesian fishermen, many from Rote Island, the majority from the village of Papela, still detained in Australia Detention Centres for carrying on illegal fishing activities in the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone. These fishing activities are not driven by economic factors only, but also by their historical background. By understanding the economic, historical and socio-cultural background of the fishermen, a comprehensive solution for illegal fishing might be established. This research aims to ascertain an alternative economic activity for the fishermen that can give increased job opportunities for the fishermen to attain a sustainable livelihood as part of sustainable economic development. This research has used qualitative and quantitative analysis techniques including stakeholder interviews, descriptive researcher observations, a household survey and Policy Analysis Matrix (PAM). The results of the research show that; (i) since the beginning of the 17th century, the traditional fishermen of Papela have made regular offshore fishing trips to waters that are now within the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone; (ii) based on socio-cultural assessment and economic calculations, a salt pond business is an efficient business with comparative advantages for the Papela fishermen as an alternative source of income; and (iii) even though, a salt pond business has economic potential and has already been conducted by a small number of people in Papela, the government’s will to support the salt farmer seems weak.


© 2018 Fred Benu, Paul G. King, AgusNalle and Moni Muskanan. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.