Fish­eries Min­is­ter Susi Pud­ji­as­tuti Faces Eval­u­a­tion after Com­plaints


In­done­sian Mar­itime Af­fairs and Fish­eries Min­is­ter Susi Pud­ji­as­tuti has suc­cess­fully re­duced the to­tal num­ber of il­le­gal fish­ing cases through­out the coun­try, but has still found her­self in hot wa­ter with Pres­i­dent Joko "Jokowi" Wi­dodo after com­plaints over reg­u­la­tions were filed at his of­fice.

Pud­ji­as­tuti, a pop­u­lar cabi­net mem­ber, for­bade fish­er­men from us­ing trawl and seine nets in 2015 cit­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal risks. Small-time fish­er­men have since filed many com­plaints, say­ing the reg­u­la­tion has de­creased their catches and af­fected their liveli­hoods.

Ac­cord­ing to the min­is­ter, trawl and seine nets are re­spon­si­ble for seabed and marine ecosys­tem dam­age.

The govern­ment be­gan dis­tribut­ing gill­nets to lo­cal fish­ing com­mu­ni­ties in an ef­fort to ease the ban but data ob­tained from the pres­i­den­tial staff of­fice shows that as of April this year only 605 fish­er­men from the en­tire ar­chi­pel­ago have re­ceived the nets.

"Gill­nets have only been dis­trib­uted to fewer than 10 per­cent of all fish­er­men in In­done­sia," Teten Mas­duki, head of the pres­i­den­tial staff of­fice, said on April 26.

The ban pol­icy out­raged the fish­ing com­mu­nity who said they needed to con­tinue us­ing the nets to sus­tain catches. Sev­eral fish­er­men have since been charged by au­thor­i­ties for us­ing trawl or seine nets while they wait for govern­ment dis­trib­uted gill­nets.

"The process of dis­tribut­ing the gill­nets has to be ac­cel­er­ated so fish­er­men may soon re­turn to the sea, as their fi­nan­cial needs de­pend on it," Mas­duki said.

Com­plaints made by the com­mu­nity reached Jokowi, who promised to call on Pud­ji­as­tuti to eval­u­ate the Min­istry of Mar­itime Af­fairs and Fish­eries reg­u­la­tion.

“I will eval­u­ate the reg­u­la­tion made by the min­istry, but please be­lieve that the govern­ment will pro­vide the best so­lu­tion for lo­cal fish­er­men," Jokowi said, as re­ported by Kom­pas.

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