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Turning Blue Indonesian style

The Jakarta Post reported on a special presentation on the sidelines of the current five-day session of the 140-member FAO Committee on Fisheries that just got underway in Rome. On this occasion Indonesia presented the blue economy concept as part of its campaign to convince the market that it is striving hard to implement sustainable fisheries. Here is the message it sent into the world : the Blue Economy Development Program in East Lombok and Nusa Penida features an integrated, upstream and downstream approach and covers tuna fisheries, aquacultures, marine tourism, salt and pearl industries.


Achmad Poernomo, Chief Research and Development of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries emphasized that the Lombok project, implemented in cooperation with FAO, is based on the principles of sustainability, nature’s efficiency, zero waste and social inclusiveness. Poernomo explained that fish exports to Europe, Indonesia‘s second largest market after Japan and the United States, have been put under increasingly stringent scrutiny, subjected to sustainability certification.

One may wonder why such scrutiny is so selectively applied to only 15 percent of the fish that is flown out of the country but sustainability is not the issue. To the Indonesian Government the term Blue Economy refers to economic growth from the exploitation of the sea…

FAO Director of Fisheries and Aquaculture Resources Indroyono Susilo, who chaired the special session, further declared that Indonesia’s decision to pursue the blue-growth concept in marine fisheries was quite strategic. “The rationale of this blue economy concept is that three quarters of the earth’s surface is covered by oceans and seas, which are both an engine for global economic growth and a key source of food security,” he pointed out.

We do not doubt a moment that these gentlemen are well meaning people but we must note that these official declarations show a presumption that the ocean is an endless resource where new fish can always be found. Not a single word is being said about protecting areas where fishing should be limited to make sure fish populations will grow back.

Indonesian policymakers and bureaucrats always manage to master the necessary jargon but they are equally prone to self deception. Indonesian schools turn out graduates who are perfectly task oriented but never learned to focus on results. Once the goals have been identified and an agenda of grand designs has been announced, problems are considered to have been resolved already. Since the road map is there the destination has been reached.

Meanwhile industrial long-line overfishing remains a big problem. All year long huge quantities of tuna are airlifted to Japan but nowadays the small scale fishermen from  our own village who go to sea in their traditional outriggers  return with a catch that is too small to even feed their own family.



The Blue Planet Odyssey

The crew of MY Sustainable Solutions has now been living ashore for many years but we are no landlubbers and with many ocean miles under our keel we keep a keen eye on what
is happening at sea. We would like to draw your attention to an important event.


The Blue Planet  Odyssey is a three year round the world sailing rally for cruising yachts. The first participants will set sail from London on July 20 where the rally is scheduled to finish in July 2017. It is an epic voyage that will be undertaken with the specific aim to raise awareness of the global effects of climate change.

Blue Planet Odyssey is the brainchild of cruising icon Jimmy Cornell, who has sailed 200,000 miles in all oceans of the world since he launched his first Aventura in July 1974. He has completed three circumnavigations and made voyages to Antarctica, Alaska and Spitsbergen. During his four decades long cruising career Cornell has visited countless isolated island communities in all oceans of the world.

Climate change is a reality that can no longer be denied and like few others Cornell has witnessed how several populations and places are already being impacted by the increasingly noticeable effects of climate change such as the melting of the Arctic icecap and the rising sea levels that result in loss of land in low-lying Pacific islands.

In contrast to the sailing races such as the Volvo Ocean Race and the Vendée Globe that follow the fastest possible route around the world by making use of the strong westerly winds in the roaring forties of the southern ocean, the routes of the Blue Planet Odyssey have been chosen to take advantage of the prevailing easterlies in the more temperate zones.

Most participants are expected to follow the traditional southern trade wind path around the world but some of the routes do pass through the least travelled parts of the oceans and include stops or detours to areas where the effects of climate change are already affecting the lives of their populations such as Tuvalu in the Pacific and the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. Significantly one option is the transit of the Northwest Passage over the Americas, which has only recently been judged sufficiently safe to sail through.

During the Blue Planet Odyssey’s three-year span the participants will gather environmental data and transmit these to oceanographic institutes and research centers. During stopovers they will engage in educational programs and community projects. For more details on the rally including the route map, please visit

With the extreme conditions of the BPO in mind Jimmy Cornell had a new aluminum 45 footer built that was specifically designed for both high latitude and tropical sailing and was launched only a few weeks ago.

Aventura IV has just completed her maiden voyage and a few days ago she arrived in the Orkney Islands

From our  temporary anchorage  on the Island of the Gods MYSS  wishes all BPO participants favorable winds and a superbly safe voyage.

8°38’45”S – 115°06’49”E Blue Planet


EU, a different kind of blue

eu flag 3

Since we admire the inspirational thinking of Gunter Pauli,  the term Blue Economy has been close to our heart as a brilliant conceptual approach to environmental problems.

We consider it most regrettable that in the course of 2012 the European Union separately adopted the term Blue Economy for a rather vague agenda that encompasses a range of undefined activities in the maritime sector from shipping, coastal tourism, offshore wind energy and seabed mining to the use of marine resources in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. In the wake of the EU the term Blue Economy is now used by an increasing number of countries and international organizations as a catch-all term for the exploitation of the ocean as a new economic model with the magic potential to lift countries out of recession. In North America such ‘blue’ development may even incongruously include offshore drilling for oil and gas.

Marine ecosystems should not be subjected to additional exploitation and unnecessary stress. It would be so much better if the EU would spend its resources to interpret the lessons of Professor Pauli in their original meaning.