Jakarta (ANTARA) - The government must compile complete data on fishing boats to improve the protection of Indonesian fishers and crew members, the Indonesian Traditional Fishers Association (KNTI) has said.

"The government should have the data of every Indonesian citizen who works on foreign ships to facilitate them and (provide) protection," KNTI daily chairman Dani Setiawan told ANTARA here on Monday.

The government must actively fulfill and strengthen protection schemes for fishers and fishing boat crews, not only those working in foreign fishing vessels but also domestic vessels, he emphasized.

Law No. 6 of 2017 mandates the protection and empowerment of fishers and has become a guideline for enforcing schemes for their protection, Setiawan said. It includes the provision of fishing business infrastructures such as fishers' boat refueling stations and ports, he added.

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Some necessary improvements that could be made include the easing of access to fishing facilities such as boats, fuel, ice, and tools, in addition to ensuring business certainties such as fish prices and small fishers' catchment area security, as well as provision of fishers' insurance and sea safety equipment, Setiawan said.

He also highlighted the importance of eliminating high-cost economic practices, such as through tax exemptions. The state also needs to help provide legal assistance to fishers and crew who face legal issues in the territories of other countries, he said.

"The law's mandate must be fulfilled progressively by the government to increase fishers' welfare," he remarked.

It is the right of every Indonesian citizen to get a job, both at home and abroad, Setiawan said. Hence, the government needs to enhance the function of monitoring, cross-border coordination, tracing, and law enforcement when it comes to foreign vessels found violating human rights, he pointed out.

Meanwhile, according to Destructive Fishing Watch (DFW) Indonesia, data accuracy on fishing vessels could boost the performance of the national fisheries sector.

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Translator: M Rahman, Kenzu T
Editor: Suharto
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