Devolution of Power and Community-Based Fishery Governance in the Bay of Blongko, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

Meilasari-Sugiana, Astrid. 2016. "Devolution of Power and Community-Based Fishery Governance in the Bay of Blongko, North Sulawesi, Indonesia." Asian Journal of Agriculture and Development 13(1): 41-58.


Natural resource governance in modern Indonesia is marked by the tension between the centralized policy strategy of the Suharto period and the reactive strategy of post-Suharto decentralization. To some extent, decentralization led to devolution of power and opportunities for local resource users to make consequential decisions over the natural resources upon which they depend. Nonetheless, this approach rested upon the capacity of communities to reach a consensus untainted by local politics, commercial imperatives, and traditional power structures. Moreover, decentralization had not given the majority strategic and structural decision-making power. Power disparity could lead to contentions, unfettered competition, open access, and resource overutilization.

In the case of Blongko Bay's marine and fishery resources in Minahasa, North Sulawesi, social institutions and local rules came into play and some people were recognized to protect the resource on behalf of the community. These social institutions took the form of neighborly ties, collective identity, reciprocity, and social and ecological responsibilities. Blongko's marine and fishery resources were not free access but governed by local and informal rules to maintain its benefits for the good of the community. Individuals evolved behavior, which commensurated with their responsibilities, leading to innovative power structures which were more locally sensitive and environmentally appropriate.

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Asian Journal of Agriculture and Development (AJAD)
1656-4383 (print);   2599-3879 (online)
Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA)
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