(Accurate data on small fishermen is necessary), so that in the event of the issuance of new policies, fishermen would no longer need to get new identifiers (to indicate they are small fishermen)
Jakarta8 (ANTARA) - To address the issue of poverty in coastal areas, accurate data from the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry regarding small fishermen in several areas was deemed necessary, according to an expert.

"(Accurate data on small fishermen is necessary), so that in the event of the issuance of new policies, fishermen would no longer need to get new identifiers (to indicate they are small fishermen). That is actually unnecessary and is (practically) a waste of money for nothing, (when in reality, the money) means a lot to small fishermen and their families," Executive Director of the Center for Maritime Studies for Humanity Abdul Halim stated on Wednesday.

According to Halim, a policy was currently in place under which small fishermen were not required to pay fees, though the services provided were still deemed perfunctory.

He also drew attention to fishermen, who faced challenges in form of administrative arrangements, in which they were required to do paperwork to get the certificate. Moreover, additional costs had to be borne to process documents showing that they were small fishermen.

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Thus, he deemed it is necessary to improve data and bureaucratic services for small fishermen.

National Coordinator of Destructive Fishing Watch (DFW) Indonesia, Moh Abdi Suhufan, revealed that his administration received reports and complaints from several small fishermen from Maluku and North Maluku. They were required to pay a regional permit levy when they would apply for a Fisheries Business Permit (SIUP), a Fish Capture Permit (SIPI), and Transport Ship Permit (SIKPI).

"The Maluku Province Regional Regulation No. 2 of 2017 on regional licensing fees makes fees mandatory for managing the Fisheries Business Permit, Fish Capture Permit, and Transport Ship Permit fees for ships that are above 5 GT (gross tonnage) in size," he remarked, adding that they had also received reports that the same was expected of small fishermen in North Maluku.

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Suhufan stated that as a result of this regulation, several small fishing vessels were not registered, and they did not report their catch, as it was a hassle, and they wanted to avoid paying the licensing fee.

This would impact the government's data on fish capture, he pointed out.

Another problem stemming from this policy was the difficulty in accessing subsidized fuel, as they do not have the permits, he stated.

The ministry has readied some programs, such as the Advanced Fishermen's Villages and Aquaculture Villages in 2022 in a bid to eradicate extreme poverty in coastal areas of some regions.

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister, Sakti Wahyu Trenggono, made the statement after attending a meeting at the Vice President's Palace here on Tuesday, December 21.

Trenggono stated that the program will include 120 districts and cities, 50 of which fell in the extreme poverty category. Moreover, 130 districts and cities were targeted for the development of the Aquaculture Village Program, out of which 53 were considered as areas with extreme poverty.

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The targets were spread across 25 provinces, an increase far from the realization of the extreme poverty reduction program in 2021 that targets seven provinces. In 2021, the budget for extreme poverty reduction programs will reach Rp174.06 billion sourced from the state budget, special allocation budget, and public services agency.

Minister Trenggono stated that eradicating extreme poverty was a national agenda, so its implementation was conducted in collaboration with other government ministries and agencies. He cited the ministry's collaboration with the Public Works and Public Housing Ministry to improve the fishing port infrastructure and fishermen's settlements as one such example.

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Translator: M Razi Rahman, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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