Renowned as Fisheries Management Area (FMA) 718, the fishing activities in the Arafura Sea are constantly rising. Approximately 2.6 million tons of fish resources, with an allowed catch of 2.1 million tons, will be harvested in the area in the future, as according data from the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries.
The Arafura Sea has approximately 1,732 fishing vessels larger than 30 GT and 21,048 vessels smaller than 30 GT, and fishing operations harvested approximately 267,832 tons of fish in 2020. However, this value is less than the 1.1 million tons per year output target.
The capture fisheries in FMA 718, employ around 87,840 fishermen and fishing vessel crews who directly involved in fish capture activities. Sadly, the spike in the proportion of fishery crews involved in Arafura Sea fishing industry has not been supplemented by labor inspection measures. As a direct consequence, the Arafura Sea becomes a major hub for violations that jeopardize the rights of fishery crews. The Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, on the other hand, is developing a contract fishing system in the hopes of providing investment certainty to both government and corporate actors.
Since the measurement for protecting fishing crews has not been holistically regulated, the above premise will amount to a breach. Nowadays, the job and governance of protecting fishery crew rights is divided between the Ministries of Manpower and Marine Affairs and Fisheries.
Moh Abdi Suhufan, National Coordinator of Destructive Fishing Watch (DFW) Indonesia, stated that numbers of grievance from fishing crews have been discovered and reported to the Indonesian government. “At the moment, there are 26 claims of practice violations filed by 76 fishing crews that had terrible experiences during their fishing operations,” Abdi stated.
About 12 of the 26 complaints took place in the Arafura Sea with a considerable number of victims. insurance, compensation, fraud, misconduct, and repatriation aid are among the violations in the Fisheries Management Area 718. “The report on fisheries management protection measures was not fully available for the fishing vessel crews,” Abdi said.
Despite the fact that the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries issued Regulation No. 33/2021 regarding the Management of Fishing Vessel Crews, Abdi claims that the regulation does not sufficiently govern and deal with the crew protection issue.
“One aspect that the regulation does not address is the conduct of inspections of fishing vessel crews, which is the responsibility of the Ministry of Manpower,” Abdi explained. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Manpower has yet to establish a regulation supervising the fishing crew members. .
Abdi suggested that the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries and the Ministry of Manpower discuss openly and concur on further collaborative inspections of fishing vessel crews. “There must be proper inspection measures in place to prevent exploitation of fishery crews, particularly those who labor on local vessels,” Abdi added.
Imam Trihatmadja, a DFW Indonesia researcher, remarked that the prevalence of labor law violations so far demonstrated that fishing business operators had not fully complied with the rules of Law No. 13/2003. The Indonesian government, on the other hand, adopted Law No. 11/2020 in order to boost investment and job creation in 2020.
The Ministry of Manpower is not explicitly mandated to oversee the process for supervision and inspection with fishing vessel crews, according to Regulation No.11/2020 regarding Job Creation and its derivative rules, according to Imam. Therefore, the issue of supervising fishing crews has been a source of consternation because it is unclear mandated to what ministry.
“So far, we have reported violations to the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries because the fishing business license is issued by the Ministry, but the authority for labor inspection should be carried out by the Ministry of Manpower,” Imam conluded.