Bangka, Bangka Belitung (ANTARA) - The Social Affairs Ministry has established cooperatives for fishermen in Fishermen Locale 1 in Sungailiat, Bangka District, Bangka Belitung, as part of an effort to support the economic empowerment of Natak Village residents.

One issue that is often faced by fishermen is having to borrow money from loan sharks just to meet their family's needs, Social Affairs Minister Tri Rismaharini said here Tuesday.

The fishermen's earnings often get drained on account of expenses during certain periods of time, and the amount of earnings depends on the catch they have, she added.

"What we must do is we have to support them so that at least (their earnings can last a while longer). So, when they go (to the sea), they have new income that does not disappear (just like that). In the current times, when their (earnings) decline, the way (to help them) is by forming cooperatives," the minister elaborated.

She said that one of the functions of such cooperatives is supporting savings and providing loans so that the fishermen can set the price of their catch themselves.

"So there won't be outsiders that set the price, except cooperatives. If it is agreed upon, prices can be controlled, so their lives can be stable," she explained.

To create a fishermen's cooperative, a request will need to be made to the regional government, then it will be processed by the Social Affairs Ministry, she said.

Such an initiative is necessary to allow fishermen to survive in any condition and improve their earnings in the long term.

During her working visit, the minister handed aid in the form of 51 5GT boats to Bangka and South Bangka fishermen.

All the fiber boats were constructed on-site, with 15 boats made in Sungailiat, 10 in Belinyu, and 26 in Toboali, South Bangka. The maximum capacity of the boats is two tons.

The ministry, through Jakarta's Sentra Mulya Jaya, also distributed social rehabilitation assistance in the form of seven hearing aids to two elderly and five disabled persons from Sungailiat.

Related news: Most Indonesian fishermen are poor: Minister
Related news: RI`s poor fishermen over seven million

Translator: Devi Nindy SR, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
Copyright © ANTARA 2023