Vincent Fabian Thomas, Jakarta – The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Kadin) has called on the government to protect local fishing companies ahead of a ministerial plan to auction commercial fishing rights covering a total quota of several million tons to both local and foreign investors starting 2022.
Joseph Pangalila, Kadin's deputy chair for marine affairs and fisheries, told Kontan.co.id on Wednesday that businesses expected the fishing quota licensing system to attract more investment, especially foreign investment, as the policy made it easier for investors to calculate returns while it also ensured sustainable production.
The government should therefore require foreign companies to work with their Indonesian counterparts "so the policy does not kill off local businesses", he said.
In November, the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry announced plans to start offering in 2022 an annual fishing quota of 4.89 million tons, worth an estimated Rp 110.2 trillion (US$7.71 billion) per year.
The policy is the government's solution to the long-standing problem of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Indonesian waters, which it aims to reduce by requiring both foreign and local companies to obtain a license to fish certain areas.
By opening the fishing industry to investments, the ministry aims to boost the share of gross domestic product (GDP) contributions from the "blue economy", which refers to the sustainable use of a country's marine resources and environment.
Fisheries minister Sakti Wahyu Trenggono has also pledged to reserve part of the quota allocations for traditional fishermen as well as recreational fishing.
"That's what we will do. We will build thousands of fishing villages over the next three years," Trenggono said.