Fishermen meet presidential staff to discuss trawl ban policy

Fishermen meet presidential staff to discuss trawl ban policy

Fishermen staged a rally in front of the State Palace, Jakarta, Tuesday (07/11/2017). The mass joined in the Indonesian Fishermen Alliance demands the government to legalize the trawl net fishing equipment at the national level by not limiting the size of gross ton vessels.(ANTARA /Aprillio Akbar) ()

"We expect the authority to study the impacts behind its regulations on trawl net," the group`s field coordinator Rusdianto Samawa stated.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The fishermen alliance met the Presidential Staff at Merdeka Palace following the mass protest held in front of the office at 9 am to 3 pm local time, the groups field coordinator Rusdianto Samawa stated here on Tuesday.

"We met the head of Presidential Staff (KSP) Teten Masduki and discussed four recommendations on trawl ban policy," Samawa remarked in Jakarta.

According to the coordinator, both parties, namely the authority and the groups 15 representatives, agreed on four measures, including that the authority will temporarily allow fishermen to use the trawl net until the end of 2017 while studying the environmental impacts of the tool.

The second recommendation was that if the trawl was approved as not being harmful to the environment, then the fishermen can call on the authority to nationally legalize the fishing tool.

Samawa further stated that President Joko Widodo had promised to visit some fish-processing centers that use trawl nets during their process.

The last request was the president's promise to directly meet the alliance to discuss the trawl ban.

"We originally support the presidents policy, but during its implementation, it could affect our livelihood," an orator stated during the protest in front of the palace, Jakarta, on Tuesday.

The protest was a response to the trawl ban policy imposed earlier by the Maritime and Fishery Minister Susi Pudjiastuti, Samawa explained.

The trawl ban, according to the protesters, would end the fishing businesses.

"We expect the authority to study the impacts behind its regulations on trawl net," Samawa reiterated.

During the demonstration, hundreds of fishermen called for 10 demands, including the legalization on trawl, the ban revocation in accordance to the Presidential Instruction No.7/2016, the fishing permit (SIPI), and an ease on current fishing permit procedures.

"Because of todays complicated procedures, millions of fishermen and fish processing workers have lost their source of income," Samawa added.

The alliance also called on the authority to release some fishermen who were detained because of the ministry rules, he stated.

Apart from the request, the group will continue supporting the presidents plan to implement aquaculture, which was claimed to open jobs in the countrys coastal villages and increase the national income.

Meanwhile at a different occasion, Pudjiastuti stated that every pros and cons on the regulation was normal. Therefore, she hoped that the alliance would end the debate on the trawl ban.

The minister further explained that a similar protest, which was against the trawl ban, had also been launched earlier in 2016.

"People would normally protest whenever the government imposed a ban or informed people on the cabinet reshuffle plan," she noted.

A maritime expert, Abdul Halim, previously remarked that the Fishery Ministry should negotiate with the alliance to reach an agreement on the ban imposed through the Minister Regulation No.2/2015.

The fishing tool, according to the regulation, had affected the environment and the sustainability of natural resources in the seas.

Halim suggested that the authority would provide alternative tools and aid while educating the fishermen on environmental-friendly fishing methods without criminalizing them.(*)