Govt Urged to Strengthen ‘Grand Design’ of Fisheries Sector Development
House Vice Speaker for Industry and Development Rachmat Gobel urged the government to strengthen the grand design of fisheries sector and marine production in order to harness the full potential of marine resources to improve people’s economic welfare and enhance food security, emphasizing the importance of such measure in consideration of the fisheries sector’s significant contribution to accelerating economic recovery after COVID-19.
“We have enormous potential in the fisheries sector, with more than 60 million tons in annual catches and fish farming. However, so far we are failing to explore the untapped potential, so the fishing industries have to rely on imports for raw materials. We have to improve the grand design of fisheries sector development policy in order to give significant contribution to accelerating economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic passes,” Gobel said in a press statement to Parlementaria on Sunday (17/05/2020).
As one of the countries with the longest coastlines in the world, Indonesia has the fisheries potential of 67 million tons annually, both from catches and fish farming. The maximum sustainable yield (MSY) reaches 10 million tons per year, of which marine fish catch potential has been estimated around 9 million tons and inland water fish potential (lake, river, dam, and swamp) contributes 1 million tons per year. Meanwhile, the other 75 million tons comes from fish farming, which includes marine culture, fishpond, and freshwater fish farming.
"Looking at the economic potential, the fisheries sector must be developed into one of the cornerstones to improve people's welfare, both through the process of increasing the added value of fish production and job creation that comes with it," Gobel said. However, based on the collected data and field observations, this sector still has many problems that hampers the exploration of its full economic potential for the welfare and prosperity of the people, one of which is the inability to maintain sustainable fisheries activities.
"The current fisheries conditions and regulations have not been fully effective in compelling companies to apply sustainable development principles with due regard to spatial zoning. Consequently, this leads to environmental pollution in protected areas and violation of fishing zone boundaries,” the Vice Speaker of the House for Industry and Development said.
This phenomenon occurred because most fishermen are still concentrated in Java Island. Therefore, there should be a relocation policy that regulates equal regional distribution of fishing zone from high-density zones to wider, more potential capture areas. "It's not easy, but it must be done through a carefully-planned and strategic policy. It means that relocation should be done by preventing potential ethnic and group conflicts," Gobel said.
As an illustration, the NasDem Party Politician proposed an idea to relocate fishermen and fisheries companies in Java region to larger fishing zones with more fish potential in Sulawesi coastal regions, such as Majene, Tual, and Gorontalo or other parts of Sulawesi.
The relocation program, Gobel added, would require perseverance of the assisting government workers, as well as the development of complementary industries and technologies in the new regions. “One way of doing this is by ensuring strict distribution of roles in the industry, so that fishermen or maritime business operators will not return to high-density fishing zones due to the lack of supporting facilities,” the Gorontalo Constituency legislator explained. (hs/sf)