Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia should be able to increase its exports of fishery products to contribute more to the country`s Gross Domestic Products, an expert said.

The target for fishery GDP has never been reached although the growth is higher than that of the country`s economy, Maritime and fishery sector observer Moh Abdi Suhufan said here on Wednesday.

"The highest growth ever recorded for the fishery sector was 7.89 percent in 2015, but after that, the growth of the fishery GDP dropped and never reached seven percent. The annual growth lingered around only 5.15 percent-5.95 percent in the following years," Suhufan noted.

The performance was much below the targets set by the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry. In its strategic plan, the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry sets target that the fishery GDP grew eight percent in 2016, 9.5 percent in 2017, and 11 percent in 2018.

"Apparently the Ministry has set ambitious targets without seeing its performance in the previous year and internal and external condition," he said.

Despite the shortfalls, he did appreciate the progress and impressive achievements made in the development of the maritime and fishery sector such as the increase the fish stocks in the country`s seas, the success in reducing illegal fishing, increase in non tax state revenue from the sector and increase in fish consumption.

Earlier, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry said the fishery sector has big potential to jack up the country`s economic growth, but for that to be brought to reality, logistics and warehousing need serious addressing.

"We know the Indonesian waters in the regions have abundant fish stocks . The problem is limited logistics and cold storage capacity," Director General of Competitiveness of fishery products Rifky Efffendi Hardijanto said.

Rifky said currently the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry is busy finishing the construction of fish warehouses especially in potential fishing grounds that exports could be increased in the coming years.

"Not only warehouses , but we also would taken care of logistics. Therefore, we ask all stakeholders or related agencies to work together to develop and modernize the maritime affairs and fisheries sector," he said.

He said the country`s export earning from the fishery sector has continued to increase from year to year . Exports in 2017 almost reached the record high of US$4,514 million in 2014. Exports of fishery products in 2017 were valued at US$4,039 million.

The domestic consumption of fish rose from year to year from 43.94 kg per capita in 2016 to 47.34 kg per capita in 2017 with the targets set 50.65 kg in 2018 and 54.49 kg in 2019.

"Not only exports , domestic requirement also increased with growing awareness of the people of the importance of consuming fish for the health," Rifky Effendi Hardijanto said.

Reporting by Muhammad Razi Rahman
Editing by A Saragih, Rahmad Nasution

Reporter: Antara
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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