Liputan6.com, Jakarta The issue of illegal fishing has been populating the minds of the Indonesian government for quite sometimes following a series of report suggesting the presence of foreign vessels performing such criminal act in the Indonesian water.
As the repercussion to such unwanted activity done, Indonesia's losses amounted to US$ 20 billion, equivalent to Rp 283 trillion on a yearly basis, a major drawback that ultimately hinders the nation's pursuance in becoming a maritime power.
Indonesian Minister of Maritime and Fisheries Affairs, Susi Pudjiastuti has for several times done her part by relinqushing a number of these detected foreign vessels under the approval of President Joko 'Jokowi' Widodo. She also went to the extent of capturing the cabin crew of these boats as to identify their nationalities and ambition.
Minister Susi's contributive gesture however, is viewed by Vice President Jusuf Kalla as only momentarily effective. According to him, the demolition of foreign vessels who have been caught performing illegal fishing and capturing individuals who ran the operation will only work in the shorter term as those criminals along with their vessels can only be caught when they are detected by the Indonesian Navy radar.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla on the other hand believes that there is a strategy deemed neccesitated for the effectiveness in combating illegal fishing in the longer term. The main solution he proposes is the additional presence of electricity capacity in areas previously lacking in such vital instrument and construct ports.
"Why do you think that illegal fishing is inevitable and remains a big issue? What do you think we're missing here? There are only two problems that we have to pay attention to, electricity and ports," Vice President Jusuf Kalla said, Jakarta, Monday (7/9/2015).
"What we have done for the past several months, that is by giving those criminals in our sea a 'shock therapy' through demolition of their boat and arrest its cabin crew, is not a long term solution to end such challenging fervor," he explained.
Vice President Jusuf Kalla then furthering his explanation as he outlines about what local fishermen would gain from the availability of electricity power in the area in which they normally go fishing.
He explains the fact that in the absence of electricity, fishermen will face possibility of having the fishes they caught as easily rotten because they do not possess any cold storage that would have frozed it to keep it fresh a litte bit longer or any cooling facility that entails the power from electricity to operate.
"Why is electricity power entailed in the eradication of illegal fishing? Because fishes fresh from the sea cannot remain fresh after two days off water, especially with no ice to clothe it for the days those fishes taken out of their habitat. If you want to keep them fresh longer then you would need cold storage. Do you see our main problem here? We have no electricity to supply the power than would stimulate cold storage operation. And so the link is that with out limitation, our fishermen will suffer big losses as they cannot keep their fishes for too long thereby causing their fishes to be largely unpopular in the market and thus decreased number of interested buyers. With lessening buyer, these fishermen may go out of job and therefore could not perform large scale exploitation in the sea which consequently will give a wide open door for foreign vessels to come in an illegally perform such exploitation," he continued explaining.
Should electricity power is established in areas where needed, an increase of fish production would be one of its benefit. In the longer term, it would help improving the national economy as welfare of those professing as fishermen will be equally improved.
"Electricity is highly needed if increased level of fish production is our main pursuance here. With no cold storage, fishes would go bad in a matter of two days, therefore no value in the market. There are many ways to defend the nation's ocean, we cannot limit our option solely to excessive purchase of defence tools to perform abolishment on those illegal boats," he added.
Knowing that electricity plays key role in this particular matter, the government has established a project designed to facilitate scores of area in Indonesia with 35 thousand MW electricity power.
The presence of ports would make it easier for these fishermen to transfer those fish to the market and will give an access to officers stationed there to monitor every activity around the area.
As for Minister Susi, she vows to make the furtherance of her way in eradicating illegal fishers in the Indonesian water and continue to focus on destructive fishing or what she describes as unfriendly to ecosytem methods exploited in fishing. Capturing fishes with bombs and othet explosives will only damage the overal sea population and therefore limiting capabilities to earn more fishes in the future. (Akp/Ein)