The Jakarta Post
The relocation of Javanese fishermen from the northern coast of Java to Natuna, Riau Islands, is a national effort to strengthen Indonesian fisheries in the province, the Office of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister has said.
Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Pandjaitan said the fishermen his office had talked with in Pati regency, Central Java, had welcomed the policy.
“Their concern is that they want to sell their catches back in Java and asked the government to build a fish auction market in their hometowns,” Luhut said during a recent Bank Indonesia regional meeting to increase maritime industries in Batam, Riau Islands.
The relocation of fishermen aims to make energy-rich Natuna a world-class fishing center to increase Indonesia's sovereignty over the area, even though some local communities disagree with the policy, deputy minister Ridwan Djamaluddin said.
“Please do not see it as Riau Islands versus Java. It is a national effort, increasing the dominance of Indonesian fishermen there to keep foreign fishermen away,” he said.
Ridwan said that only 20 percent of Natuna’s fishing potential was being exploited whereas the northern coast of Java was already overfished. (dan)
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