Indonesia expects the contribution from economic activities in its oceans to double in the next decade, setting an ambitious goal that reflects the country's concerted effort to clean up its oceans, develop sustainable fisheries, explore deep sea mining and establish world class tourist destinations. According to Vice President Jusuf Kalla, the share of ocean related economic activities in Indonesia's GDP has the potential to increase from 11 to 25 percent.
The fisheries sector is of key importance to achieve this ambitious goal. In 2016, it contributed about 8 percent of Indonesia's $930 billion GDP and was one of the fastest growing sectors in the economy. However, at the moment, less than 10 percent of the fisheries potential is produced every year, leaving ample room for growth. Reflecting, the government’s ambitions, the objective is to export $5 billion worth of fish and other sea catch this year, up 19 percent from $4.2 billion last year. Therefore, Indonesia, the world's largest archipelago, has recently liberalized investment in its fisheries sector to attract foreign investment, particularly to help process fishes for export. In addition, the government cracked down on illegal and unregulated fishing and launched a one billion dollar initiative to clean up its seas from plastic waste, which kills fish and destroys tourism.
Next to fisheries, tourism is envisioned to boost the economy. Therefore, the government is seeking $20 billion in investment to develop ten priority tourist destinations across the archipelago — of which seven will rely on maritime tourism — over the next few years to help attract 20 million tourists by 2019. In 2016, Indonesia attracted 11.5 million foreign tourists, up 10 percent from 10 million in 2015.
Moreover, the country also launched an initiative to map its vast sea floor to find more deep sea mining resources as well as pushed for more exploration of offshore oil and gas. As the government is aware of the global paradigm shift away from oil and gas towards for example electric cars, it acknowledges that oil and gas are becoming less lucrative. Yet, other minerals resources in the sea are to be explored and not left untouched.
Finally, maritime transportation remains essential to the country’s economic development. Therefore, the government has been building new ports across the country and launching subsidized sea vessels to ensure seamless distribution of goods between industrial center Java and natural resource-rich islands in eastern parts of Indonesia.