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Govt should focus on tapping fisheries resources

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry (KKP) should now focus on the utilization of the countrys abundant fisheries resources, and not on their supervision only.

The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) wants the government to pay more attention to the marine and fisheries sector in 2017.

“We hope the government will pay more attention to the marine and fishery businesses,” Kadins Deputy for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Yugi Prayanto has said.                              

The optimal utilization of Indonesias vast marine areas and rich fisheries resources can earn the government trillions of rupiah in annual revenues. Its marine and fisheries resources have a revenue potential of up to Rp3000 trillion or about US$55.6 billion a year based on data at the KKP in 2001.

According to Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti, abundant fishery resources are currently only found in the seas of Indonesias maritime territory, and their sustainability should be maintained.

“Our fishery potential is extraordinary as now only Indonesia has abundant fish stocks,” Minister Pudjiastuti stated at a fishery business and investment last week (December 30).

However, according to fisheries policy observer Abdul Halim, maritime and fisheries are not yet tapped maximally.”Fisheries businesses and fishing vessels crew members still find it difficult to exploit fish resources in the country,” Halim said Monday (Jan 9).

If the fish resources can be utilized optimally, then it may increase the non-tax state revenues in the fisheries sector, Halim, who also serves as the Executive Director of the Center of Maritime Studies for the Humanities, remarked.

Yet, according to Kadin, the chamber faced many obstacles during 2016 in supporting fishermen and the fisheries businesses due to the impact of governments policies not conducive to them.

Some government policies issued in 2016 did not positively impact investments in the maritime and fisheries sector. Moreover, these policies significantly affect the livelihood of fishermen.

Due to these policies, many fishermen are afraid to work. Therefore, Kadin hopes that the government will support the domestic businesses and focus attention on the marine and fisheries sector.

Actually, the KKP has implemented various policies in the upstream sector to fight illegal fishing, ban transshipment at sea, disallow the operations of fishing vessels of certain tonnage, and prohibit the use of certain fishing devices.

However, although poaching had reduced with the implementation of the policy, yet fish production has slowed down, and millions of fishermen and fishing boat crew members became idle.

In the meantime, the development of downstream fisheries is yet to show substantial results, in terms of boosting the welfare of the fishermen.

Kadin believed that KKP Minister Susi Pudjiastuti would continue to apply a good policy with regard to the upstream sector. In addition, Kadin suggested that the minister should also intensively empower the fishery industry from the upstream to downstream areas.

After all, in 2017 the world economy is likely to contract further, so many investors and people have stopped spending their money. This will negatively impact the national economy, especially the maritime and fisheries sector, which has made significant contributions to the country and people.

“Consequently, many investors are in the wait and watch mode. Therefore, it is important for the government to pay serious attention to the sector, which has been contracting for quite some time,” Yugi said.

There are a number of government policies on fisheries and maritime affairs that should be reviewed because they are counter-productive to the development of the national fisheries sector.

Kadin hoped that the government will conduct studies, hold public consultations, and look at relevant laws before issuing policies. “Lets see the future by improving our respective roles for the sake of national development. Future challenges will be more difficult, but we must remain optimistic that we can play a role in improving the national economy,” he said.

The KKP has estimated the fish catch potential from the 11 fisheries management zones in the Indonesian waters to be at 9.9 million tons, compared to the 6.5 million tons it achieved in 2016.

“The stock assessment was done in 2016, covering 11 WPPN-RI (Fisheries Management Zone) regions,” Head of the Maritime Research and Development Agency of the KKP Zulficar Moctar revealed Friday (Jan 6).

The stock assessment constitutes a priority program. KKPs other priority programs included the production of 10 research buoys, the development of Integrated Aquarium and Marine Research Institute in Pangandaran and Morotai.

About 92.58 percent of the four priority programs have been implemented with a budget ceiling of Rp728.2 billion.

The KKP has produced 10 research buoys to provide marine environment data on temperature, dissolved oxygen and chlorophyll in Indonesian eastern region, notably in the waters of Nusa Tenggara and Maluku, Zulficar explained.

In its efforts to increase the fish stock, the ministry has also been successful in increasing the number of fish species, KKP Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said.

Pujiastuti has attributed the ministrys success to Indonesias fight against illegal fishing in its waters.(*)