Fisheries centers built to improve fishermen`s welfare

Fisheries centers built to improve fishermen`s welfare

Illustration. Fishing village in Muara Angke area, Penjaringan, North Jakarta. (ANTARA PHOTO/Aprillio Akbar)

With the presence of the fisheries and marine centers, the Indonesian fisheries products could be exported directly.
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesian fishermen are among the countrys underprivileged population, although they have the vital role in providing the peoples need for high protein, especially from fish.

To improve the welfare of fishermen, the Maritime and Fisheries Ministry (KKP) is focusing its attention on developing Integrated Fisheries and Marine Centers (SKPT) in the countrys outlaying islands.

The development of the SKPTs is expected to advance the countrys fishery industry in the outer and isolated islands with the aim of providing equitable distribution of income and improving the welfare of fishermen.

Besides, the development of integrated fisheries and marine centers will also increase public services to business makers and the people so that the fisheries business would become more efficient and effective.

KKP Minister Susi Pudjiastuti has stressed the importance of the SKPT as part of the governments efforts to reduce logistics burdens or costs in the maritime and fisheries sector.

"The establishment of the SKPT is to cut short processes, transportation lines and the logistics of fishermens fish catch," Minister Pudjiastuti said during the signing of a cooperation agreement with state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina on Monday (July 31).

According to the KKP minister, the shortcut in the processes and transportation lines will make the Indonesian fisheries products relatively cheap in the market. This is possible because the various sides involving in the logistics processes need not spend high transportation cost.

Additionally, with the presence of the fisheries and marine centers, the Indonesian fisheries products could be exported directly.

"The fish catch now in Morotai has to be transported for eight hours to Bitung. For further processing, the fish is sent from Bitung to Makassar and is transported back again to Bitung. So, the process is too complicated," she remarked.

To solve this, she said, a global delivery point should be established from where goods could be exported directly. The delivery point could be established for Indonesian eastern region. In the northern part of the eastern region a delivery point could serve as a hub for the Philippines or the one in southern part, which could serve as a point for goods to be exported to Australia.

Hence, the Maritime affairs and Fisheries Ministry will team up with Pertamina in the development of Integrated Fisheries and Marine Centers in various areas potential to develop sustainable fisheries.

"Strong and healthy Pertamina is the right partner in developing SKPT," Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said after the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Pertamina.

She said the collaboration is expected to strengthen oil fuel logistic systems needed by fishermen, and fish and salt farmers in outer islands. One of the problems faced in developing small outer islands is in difficulty in energy supply. It is not rare that fishermen in the outer regions could not go to the sea because of unavailability of oil fuel.

Cooperation between the ministry and Pertamina is expected to better guarantee supply of diesel oil for SKPT units that fishermen could operate more effectively.

The minister said she had found that subsidized diesel oil had been used by large fishery industry, which has no right to receive it.

The KKP ministry last year decided to build 15 Integrated Fisheries and Marine Resource Center (SKPT) in various regions in the country. The aim of the SKPT is among others to boost fishery exports directly from the center without the need to go through Jakarta.

Five of the SKPT are located in Simeullue (Aceh) Natuna, (Riau Islands), Tahuna (North Sulawesi), Saumlaki (Maluku), and Merauke (Papua).

Ten others are built in Mentawai Island (West Sumatera), Nunukan (North Kalimantan), Talaud (North Sulawesi), Morotai (North Maluku), Biak-Numfor (West Papua), Sarmi (Papua), Mimika (Papua), Tual (Maluku), Rote Ndao (East Nusa Tenggara/NTT), Maluku Barat Daya (Maluku).

This year, the KKP has virtually planned to build the SKPT in 12 locations with a fund allocation amounting to Rp771.8 billion. However, the fund has been cut by Rp127.1 billion.

According to on Monday, the decision to cut the budget could threaten the KKPs program in accelerating fisheries industrialization in outlaying areas.

Based on the document of the KKP hearing with Commission IV on maritime affairs and fisheries of the House of Representatives (DPR) on July 24, the streamlined funds included those for the construction of SKPTs in Saumelaki, Mentawai, Talaud, Biak Numfor, Mimika, Rote Ndao, Sumba Timur, and Sabang.

Therefore, it is predicted that the KKP would not be able to achieve its target to develop the SKPTs in 12 locations this year as a result of the budget cut. The budget slash is an implication of the governments efficiency drive on its spending in the revision of the 2017 state budget.

The Destructive Fishing Watch (DFW)-Indonesia hopes that the fund for the establishment of the SKPTs would not be cut because the program is very important for reducing the logistics cost in the fishery sector.

"The reduction in the budget allocation showcases the lack of readiness of the KKP in planning the construction of the SKPTs which are vital for supporting the acceleration of the industrialization process in outlaying areas," DFW National Coordinator Moh Abdi Suhufan said.(*)