Medan, North Sumatra (ANTARA News) - Most of some 16 million fishermen families in Indonesia are poor, Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Resources Rizal Ramli stated here on Friday.

"To help improve their standard of living, the government has, so far, already undertaken various efforts, including providing 3.5 thousand fishing boats and an insurance policy for one million fishermen," he remarked.

During a visit to a fishermens village in Belawan I in the sub-district of Medan Belawan in North Sumatra, the minister, accompanied by North Sumatra Governor Erry Nuradi, handed over two boats for school transportation for the fishermens children from Wilmar Group and offered full scholarships to four children of fishermen to study at the Fishing Polytechnic in Sidoarjo, East Java, and a higher learning fishery institute in Jakarta.

Ramli noted that besides providing 3.5 thousand boats of 5-10 gross tonnage to the fishermen in stages until 2019 and insurance for one million fishermen, the government has also taken other efforts to help the fishing community.

"To be able to avail the governments assistance, the fishermen have been requested to join cooperatives and get a Fishermans Card," he stated.

Ramli said the government had taken stern measures against foreign fishing vessels found poaching fish in the countrys waters.

North Sumatra Governor Nuradi said the province had offered insurance cover to 60.5 thousand fishermen.

"The central governments insurance program for fishermen will facilitate a similar program that has, so far, been implemented by the North Sumatra government," he pointed out.

Nuradi said the province was the first to implement an insurance program for fishermen in the country.

From 2012 until now, 3.4 thousand fishermen in the region have received insurance assistance. (*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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