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Social Impact is a global development management consulting firm. We provide monitoring, evaluation, and capacity building services to advance development effectiveness.


Research Assistant of Fisheries Assessment for North Natuna Sea

Location: Indonesia


Terms of Reference

Research Assistant

Fisheries Assessment for North Natuna Sea




The Natuna Islands, an archipelago of 272 small islands in Riau Islands province, are Indonesia’s northernmost island chain and are located off the northwest coast of Borneo between Peninsular and Bornean Malaysia.  Closer to Ho Chi Minh City than Jakarta, the island chain is remote and relatively undeveloped, but has received international attention in recent years as China’s “Nine-Dash Line” claim to the South China Sea overlaps with Indonesia’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off the coast of Natuna, triggering disputes between Indonesian authorities and Chinese foreign fishing vessels. In July 2017, the GOI announced it was renaming the waters around the Natuna Islands the “North Natuna Sea” in place of the South China Sea.  


Furthermore, the East Natuna Gas Field (formerly Natuna D-Alpha), located northeast of the Natuna Islands and within Indonesia’s EEZ, is considered to be potentially the largest gas field in Southeast Asia with estimated recoverable natural gas reserves of 46 trillion cubic feet.  Several multinational public-private partnerships have formed to develop the gas field, but significant development has proven challenging due to commercial and technical constraints. 


While political priorities and media discussion center on security concerns, the GOI seeks international support and cooperation for development and investment in Natuna.  Despite the wealth of natural resources surrounding Natuna, the islands and the corresponding district government (Kabupaten Natuna) and provincial Riau Islands government face many development challenges, including education, inclusive economic development, and fisheries management.  Further, while much attention is put on the abundance of large foreign fishing vessels in the waters surrounding Natuna, livelihoods and income for many Natuna residents are dependent on small-scale artisanal fishing.  In 2018, the GOI, including the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), the Coordinating Ministry of Maritime and Investment Affairs, and the local governments successfully launched an Integrated Marine and Fisheries Center in Natuna that provides basic infrastructure such as fish landing sites, ice machines, and the foundation for further private, government, or foreign investment to build a hub for fish processing and potential export.  Other recent efforts, such as the GOI’s relocation of fishers from Java to Natuna, emphasize their pressing desire to increase fishing effort and overall fishing activity in the area. 


At the same time, additional information on fisheries specific to the North Natuna Sea--fish stock, species, market value, fishing effort, catch per unit effort, and total catch by small-scale fishers and foreign vessels--is still needed to improve Indonesia’s strategic planning for maritime security, fisheries management, and economic development. 


The North Natuna Sea is part of the larger Fisheries Management Area (FMA, or WPP in Indonesian) 711 which includes several Indonesia provinces. While some data does exist on FMA 711, the area itself is very large.  Fish stock data for WPP 711 is an aggregation of information from several provinces, and is likely to be heavily influenced by fish landings and fishing effort out of Pontianak, West Kalimantan, and will not provide an accurate foundation on which to base fisheries management planning specific to the North Natuna Sea. 




This Scope of Work is to conduct a rapid assessment on the fisheries sector in the North Natuna Sea that will inform fisheries management, support economic development, guide investment, and assist Government of Indonesia (GOI) decision making in management of its valuable and underutilized natural resources. This assessment will help USAID to advance Indonesia’s self-reliance to manage sustainable fisheries that support long-term economic development in Natuna. 


In line with the U.S. National Security Strategy, the Natural Resources Safeguards and Security program area under USAID’s Indo-Pacific Vision, U.S. Embassy Jakarta’s Integrated Country Strategy, and USAID Indonesia’s draft Country Development Cooperation Strategy, this assessment will provide key information to assist Indonesia to sustainably manage its fisheries in a remote and highly strategic area. 


Position Description

Social Impact Inc. is seeking an individual to fulfil the role of Research Assistant of Fisheries Assessment for North Natuna Sea.


The assessment will be conducted in direct coordination with the GOI. Ahead of the start date of the assessment, USAID will engage with GOI counterparts and provide a point of contact, but the assessment team will likely work directly with various directorates of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries.  


The assessment team will also work closely with the USAID SEA project to facilitate collection of data, link to ongoing USAID activities in marine conservation and fisheries management.


Key Responsibilities  

The Research Assistant will be responsible for:

  • Fully responsible for arranging and maintaining the filed data collection schedule and ensuring smooth logistical proceedings (lodging, transportation, etc) during field work.
  • Writing detailed interview and/or FGD notes.
  • Managing data collected from the field.
  • Other duties as assigned.



Estimated LOE: 30 Days


COVID-19 impacts 

Due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, the initial timeline for the assessment may be subject to change. Flexibility and creativity will be required to collect data, conduct interviews, present findings, and draft and submit the report.  Team members should be selected with these factors in mind; access to information technology resources and strong internet connection at team members’ respective homes may be required.  Flexible hours are needed to communicate with the USAID team in the United States and in Indonesia, as necessary.  While travel is likely needed to complete the scope of work, creative approaches with respect to public health should be considered for interviews, site visits, and to engage with fishers, GOI officials, USAID, and other stakeholders.  Due to the global pandemic and overall sensitivities in Natuna, close and frequent coordination with USAID is strongly encouraged. 


Minimum Qualifications

  • Undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline, such as: public administration/policy; research; international development; workforce development; private sector engagement, public policy, or a similar field.
  • Demonstrated familiarity with relevant GOI ministries and procedures for obtaining approvals to interview relevant staff.
  • Strong written and oral communication in Indonesian required, English additionally preferred.
  • Previous experience with USAID project or familiarity with USAID regulation/requirement is preferred.
  • Experience in incorporating analysis of available secondary data to supplement qualitative data.


Reporting: The position will report to the Team Leader.


Come join our energetic and innovative team!  We offer you the opportunity to play a leading role in the growth of our company, work as part of a creative and committed team, and make a difference in the well-being of our world.

To learn more about Social Impact, please visit our website:

SI is an EEO/AA/ADA Veterans Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability or protected veteran status.



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