Former Official Demands Priority for Natuna Fishermen

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Mahinda Arkyasa

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Former Illegal Fishing Eradication Task Force (Satgas 115) Coordinator, Mas Achmad Santosa, urged the government to prioritize local Natuna fishermen to catch fish in the Northern Natuna Sea, as opposed to fishermen from the Northern Javanese Coast (Pantura). This is due to the fact that currently there are still only around 811 Natuna fishermen who already have a permit from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP).

    "Don't bring Java to Natuna, instead, maximize the local fishermen," said Achmad in a discussion in South Jakarta on Monday, January 13, 2020.

    According to Achmad, these fishermen have vessels in the size between 70 to 90 Gross Tons (GT), and only one or two owned ship more than 100 GT. Achmad wants these fishing vessels to be prioritized by the government, through the aid of a number of incentives.

    Previously, the Indonesian Government planned to deploy 470 Pantura fishermen to Natuna, to offset the foreign Chinese fishermen in the region. As of now, the plan is put on halt due to a KKP regulation that inhibits the use of fishing boats sized greater than 150 GT. 

    In the midst of this government plan, the local Natuna fishermen have voiced their rejection towards the notion. One of the considerations is due to Javanese fishermen utilizing trawlers that could damage the fishes and other marine biotas. 

    One of the initiatives proposed by Achmad is fuel subsidies for the local fishermen, as the Chinese Government is also subsidizing fuel for the Chinese fishermen in Natuna Waters.

    Continuing on, Achmad also suggested the eradication of the Tax for Fishery Products (PHP). Then, the government is encouraged to increase market accessibility for the fishermen and to prepare infrastructure support at the fishing port. "This needs to be done in order to increase the occupancy of our fishermen in Natuna," Achmad said.

    FAJAR PEBRIANTO