Devastation of Sumatra
The tsunami killed some 130,000 people (with a further 37,000 missing, presumed dead) on the Indonesian island of Sumatra.
According to the Malaysia-based WorldFish Centre, over 10% of the fishers (9,082) in Aceh Province, Sumatra, perished in the Dec. 26 disaster and more than 9,600 boats of all kinds were destroyed. On Nias Island, a further 15-20% of fishers died in the catastrophe.
Impacts on fishing capacity and infrastructure were also profound. In Aceh, for example, 83 fish landing facilities and 20 ice plants were destroyed, along with about 40% of the small-scale fishing fleet and associated gear. Indonesia estimates damages to its capture fisheries sector at US$ 52 million.
WorldFish Director-General Stephen Hall says that while delivery of aid has varied significantly from one location to another across the tsunami-affected region, infrastructure replacement is relatively easy to achieve compared with reformulating fisheries policy and modifying long-standing practices of communities to ensure sustainable livelihoods.
"The reconstruction phase following the tsunami, however, has created a window of opportunity to institute reforms needed for the long-term," says Dr. Hall.
"Armed with good intentions and awash with money, but without clear co-ordination and a coherent strategy, many of the rehabilitation efforts will fail," says the WorldFish analysis. "Worse still, they may imperil the longer term livelihoods of the communities they are seeking to help. For fishers, the grim possibility that efforts to rebuild might actually send their communities on a downward path to economic misery is very real."
WorldFish says data on fish stocks is lacking for the specific places most affected by the tsunami but suspects the situation mirrors that throughout the neighbouring