Jakarta (ANTARA) - Strengthening the maritime culture and community became an important capital for Indonesians in supporting the sustainability of marine resources and people's prosperity, the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) stated.

Through a statement on BRIN's website on Monday, the agency's Social Science and Humanities Organization (OR IPSH) Head Ahmad Najib Burhani noted that the maritime community is often looked down upon.

They are considered to be poor and lacking education. However, this is a wrong perception, he emphasized.

The potential that the maritime community holds is huge and should be able to become the nation's strength that can be associated with the maritime pillars delivered by President Joko Widodo.

Several examples of maritime pillars, such as maritime culture revitalization, management of marine resources and food resiliency, infrastructure and connectivity, maritime diplomacy, defense and security are various potentials held by the maritime community.

Related news: Maritime Ministry, NTB gov't to tackle pollution in Bima Bay

The maritime community, comprising coastal residents and fishermen, is the bearer of maritime culture and manages the shorelines based on local wisdom throughout this time.

"While talking about revitalizing the maritime culture as well as fishery management and procurement, they are the key. Throughout this time, they have fulfilled this function in a variety of conditions," Burhani noted.

Traditional sailing conducted by coastal residents and fishermen had connected several islands across the nation.

Their sea voyage dynamics has also resulted in the formation of ethnic groups in the country. They connect, interact, exchange culture, and even form families.

Maritime culture contributes to Indonesia's pluralism while also connecting social groups in regional and also global communities, he explained.

Indonesian trepang catcher in the Australian waters, for instance, had formed relations with the Aboriginal people in north Australia. This became a foundation for cultural diplomacy.

The maritime community can also contribute to Indonesia's defense and security. While sailing and fishing, fishermen can also participate in monitoring the Indonesian waters. This potential should certainly be optimized.

If Indonesia has around 650 thousand armada ships mostly owned by small fishermen, and assuming they each can monitor four square kilometers of oceans when they operate, then they can fulfil the defense and security purposes.

On account of the major potential and role that the maritime community holds, this community should be bolstered, empowered, and protected from various threats.

Related news: Technology paramount to reducing disaster risks: BRIN

Translator: Martha H S, Fadhli Ruhman
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2022