According to MMFA Secretary General Sjarief Widjaja, his ministry has this year set a production target of 20.95 million tons of fish, with an expected export of US$5.65 billion.
"The production target consists of 6.08 million tons of catch fish and 13.97 million tons of cultured fish," Widjaja said in a written statement early this month.
The secretary general stated that to develop the fishery industry, the MMFA initially based its efforts on economic, ecological and technological approaches. Yet now it has included social approaches to assist in reaching its production target.
He said that to meet its goals, the MMFA had set a number of top priorities in its fishery production programs that it needs to carry out in 2014. It is seeking fish consumption at 38 kg per capita per year, a fishery gross domestic production (GDP) increase by 7.25 percent and an export target of US$5.65 billion.
The export target in 2014, worth US$5.65 billion, increased from fish exports in 2013 that stood at US$4.9 billion. Fisheries export value in 2013 also increased, if compared to previous years.
"Compared to the 2011-2012 fish export statistics, fisheries products had significant increased, with a percentage growth of 11.62 percent," said Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries Sharif Cicip Sutardjo, quoted by infopublik.org online media at an editors meeting on January 8, 2014.
Minister Sutardjo revealed that the value of the 2011-2012 fisheries imports, meanwhile, decreased by 15.49 percent.
"The data shows that the 2012 fisheries trade balance achieved a surplus of US$3.52 billion, or 81.11 percent from total import trade transactions, while the national trade balance suffered US$1.33 billion deficit," he said.
According to data at the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin), Indonesias fishery exports in 2010 stood at US$2.86 billion. These had risen to US$3.52 billion in 2011 and US$3.85 billion in 2012.
Minister Sutardjo emphasised that his office is focusing on marine and fisheries industrial development programs. Therefore, the current export performance needs to be sustained.
Among other things, the MMFA is developing the capacity of the industry in the production of six main commodities, including canned tuna, canned sardine, fresh and frozen loin tuna, processed and frozen shrimps, Katsuobushi Tuna and boiled tuna.
The Ministry is also improving and diversifying export products, complying with international market standards and regulations, promoting and branding export products and managing tariff and non-tariff export obstacles.
"The principle is that fisheries product exports are directed to increase their added values," he said.
As part of its efforts to increase fishery production and exports, the MMAF is doing its best to expand its global market, including to Europe. On Thursday it signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with France, specifically with the Indonesian French Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IFCCI), on fishery exports.
Director General of Fisheries Product Processing and Marketing Saut P. Hutagalung signed the MoU with IFCCI Chairman Alain Pierre Mignon in the presence of Marine Affairs and Fisheries Minister Sharif C. Sutardjo and French Ambassador to Indonesia and Timor Leste, Corinne Breuz.
The MoU covers partnership priorities of both parties, outlining how France will facilitate the business meeting and promotion of Indonesian fish products in France.
It will also arrange an exchange of experts focusing on development of the fishery product processing industry in Indonesia.
Based on the MoU, France will host an investment forum on Indonesian fishery product processing and the marketing industry.
The MoU will be valid for three years after being signed by both parties.
Sutardjo explained that the partnership between the MMAF and IFCCI is necessary to support the sustainable fishery and marine industrialization.
It is hoped the direct partnership will stimulate the nation's fishery entrepreneurs to produce more qualified and competitive products.
"This partnership is expected to benefit the nation's fishery industry, particularly to help them penetrate the French market, as well as creating investment in fishery and marine industries to support the blue economy concept," Sutardjo remarked.
The minister also said Indonesian fish exports to France and the EU can be escalated and have an impact to boost investment value, as well as create valued added.
This expectation follows a significant increase in Indonesian fishery product exports to France, which in the 2011-2012 periods was up from US$31,624,837 to US$35,807,489.
"Up to November 2013, Indonesian fishery exports to France exceeded US$ 43,431,665, up 33.5 percent from one year earlier," he explained.
Apart from Europe, MMFA should also expand its market to other parts of the globe, as Indonesias potential in marine and fisheries is immense, if exploited to its maximum.
Though it has not yet been fully tapped, Indonesias future economic development will depend upon the marine sector.
According to Vice President Boediono, Indonesias potential marine reserves have yet to be properly used as a source of the nation s economic resilience.
"A situation, in which we as a nation are blessed by abundant natural resources but do not manage to make use of that richness, should not occur," he said during celebrations to mark National Archipelago Day 2013 in Palu, Central Sulawesi, last December.
Boediono noted that Indonesia had extraordinary marine resources whose potential, he estimated, could bring in Rp3,000 trillion (US$249 billion) per year.
He added that the potential was in shipping, the maritime industry, fisheries, ocean tourism, energy and mineral resources, maritime infrastructure and maritime services. (*)