Conservation, fisheries development need to go hand in hand: Jokowi

Jakarta Indonesian President Joko Widodo has said in addition to curbing illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing to preserve the archipelago's marine environment, the nation’s fishing industry needs to be developed to improve conditions of fishermen.

"Our efforts to tackle IUU fishing activities in our waters must be continued, but we must not just do that," President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) told participants at a limited meeting on Indonesia's marine policies on Thursday at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta.

He said Indonesia has conducted a focused war on IUU fishing activities during the first five years of his term. The endeavor has resulted in the preservation of Indonesia's fish stocks and marine environment, the President added.

"Our national fish stocks have significantly increased from 6.5 million tonnes to 12.5 million tonnes," he said, adding that conservation efforts should be followed up with a rapid development of Indonesia's fishing industry.

"Our fish stocks are abundant. So, our fishing industry must also be developed to increase our exports of fish. This would improve the livelihood of our fishermen," he said.

From 2014 to mid-2019, the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry sank at least 516 vessels belonging to countries in its neighborhood, and even from Indonesia, for conducting illegal fishing operations in its waters.

Of the total vessels sunk, 294 were from Vietnam, 92 from the Philippines, 76 from Malaysia, and 23 from Thailand, two from Papua New Guinea, one each from China, Nigeria, and Belize, and 26 from Indonesia.

IUU fishing issues have become a global concern over the past few years.

Representatives of APEC economies have even tried to raise awareness globally on combating IUU fishing in order to reduce poverty and food insecurity.

IUU fishing has undermined the region's food security, the APEC's Oceans and Fisheries Working Group said in a written statement issued in March, 2019.

"Illegal fishing takes money out of the hands of those playing by the rules. It takes food out of people’s mouths. It undermines governments' efforts to achieve sustainable fisheries," stated Patrick Moran, Lead Shepherd for APEC's Oceans and Fisheries Working Group.

The fisheries industry is a global juggernaut, raking in US$144 billion annually. Small-scale fishing accounts for 90 percent of the sector, which feeds more than 50 percent of the population of developing countries, including in the Asia-Pacific region.

However, 20 percent of the fish captured globally is lost to IUU fishing that exacerbates food insecurity and poverty, robs families of income, and undermines attempts at sustainable fisheries, while also encouraging crime. (INE)

Source: Antara News

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