KORAL Calls MAF Minister not to Issue ex-Foreign Fishing Boat License

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CEO EcoNusa, Bustar Maitar.

Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MoMAF) plans to issue license for the former foreign fishing boat to operate in Indonesia. This is stipulated by the Government Regulation (PP) No. 27/2021 on Marine and Fisheries Management as derivative of the Job Creation Law.

As quoted by Antara on May 28, 2021, the acting Catch Fisheries Director General of MoMAF, M. Zaini, said there are 447 internationally-made vessels in Indonesia. Those vessels could operate upon some requirements such as Indonesian flag, domestic captain and crew employment, utilizing fishing gear as regulated, domestic fish landing, and prohibition of transhipment.

For this scheme, the NGO Coalition for Fisheries and Maritime Sustainability (KORAL) called for a hearing session with Minister of MAF, Sakti Wahyu Trenggono. The session involving KORAL and MoMAF was virtually held on Monday, July 5, 2021.

On the meeting KORAL called MoMAF to hold up the former policy. They expected that the MoMAF would not grant any fishing permit to the former foreign fishing boat. “Those boats formerly had problems. So, it is important to stay prudent if we re-issue permit,” said Bustar Maitar, EcoNusa CEO.

There are some considerations addressed by KORAL. As to Bustar, the suspended permit issuance to the former foreign fishing boat will surely provide larger space to small fishers. The Indonesian native fishers therefore could catch fish in the Indonesian water. “Thus, it will create welfare to our fishers as expected by the Minister,” he said.

It might be worrisome when the corporate activities and vessels remain under the control of foreign investors, despite the fact that the former foreign fishing boat has Indonesian flag. Formerly, almos all former foreign fishing boats employed foreign ship crews. Besides, data show that 616 out of 1,132 former foreign fishing boats utilized trawls that are not deemed eco-friendly and banned in Indonesia.

Bustar also spotted on the conflict potentials among Indonesian fishers and the former foreign fishing boats. For instance, it happens at the Indonesian Fisheries Management Area (WPP-RI) 718 covering seas of Aru, Arafuru and eastern Timor sea. On the shallow water zones, there are many traditional fishing boats operations. If a large vessel intervenes into those territories, it will spark competition and conflict that might end up with human rights violations. “We want small fishers to have space and supports from the government to grow ahead,” said Bustar.

On that session, KORAL also recommended the MoMAF to improve a measurable fisheries governance. IOJI’s Director of International Engagement and Policy Reform, Stephanie Juwana, said that measurable fisheries is executable only when there is compliance among business players. There are two crucial aspects, namely compliance with the vessel monitoring system (VMS) and Indonesian vessel reporting improvement.

The VMS analysis includes analysis on compliance of fishing territory, compliance with Indonesian fishing boat that ensures VMS, fishing trip, very long extent fishing. It also covers an analysis of transhipment on the open sea, fishing boat compliance with illegal fishing ban, and analysis on fish landing compliance so as to identify unreported fishing activities.

On the other hand, Indonesian vessel reporting could be done by complying with an accurate catches report of Indonesian fishing boat (LKP and LKU). This is vital to ensure that the productivity goes along with sustainability, compliance of business players while optimizing non-tax state income (PNBP) and fishery sector tax. “For instance, the comparison of a total of tax revenue from fishery and the national tax ration is 8.25 percent to 8.6 percent in 2021. This situation causes tax gap. One of the causes is due to the fact that the business player fails to report his business accurately,” said Stephanie.

KORAL is a coalition consisting of nine civil society organizations concerning with marine affairs and fisheries in Indonesia. They are Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia (WALHI), Koalisi Rakyat untuk Keadilan Perikanan (KIARA), Yayasan Ekosistem Nusantara Berkelanjutan (EcoNusa), Pandu Laut Nusantara, Indonesia Ocean Justice Initiative (IOJI), Greenpeace, Destructive Fishing Watch (DFW), Terumbu Karang Indonesia (TERANGI), and Indonesia Center for Environmental Law (ICEL).

Editor: Leo Wahyudi

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