In order to protect the rights and well-being of fisheries workers in Bali, the Bali Multistakeholder Forum meeting for the Protection of Fisheries Workers was held again on Monday, August 28, 2023, in Denpasar. This meeting is a continuation of previous meetings held in March and May 2023. The Bali Marine and Fisheries Office facilitated the meeting with technical support from Destructive Fishing Watch Indonesia.
One of the important agreements reached in previous meetings was the need to enhance protection for fisheries workers in Bali, including fishing vessel crews, fish processing unit workers, and fishermen.
Putu Sumardiana, the Head of the Bali Maritime and Fisheries Office, emphasized the importance of the fisheries sector as the second-largest economic sector in Bali after tourism, taking into account the well-being of workers and the quality of fisheries products for export.
“Benoa Port, known for its main commodity of Tuna, is Indonesia’s second-largest fisheries industry center.
More than 18,000 fisheries workers and 180 Fish Processing Units (FPU) are involved in the tuna fishing business in Benoa, contributing to Bali’s economic growth,” explained Putu Sumardiana, the condition and potential of the fisheries sector in Bali.
According to the Bali Fish Quarantine and Quality Control Agency (BKIPM), the export volume of skipjack tuna in 2020 was 916,000 tons, with a value of IDR 830 billion. Furthermore, the export volume in 2021 increased to 1,256,000 tons, with IDR 1.1 trillion.
However, behind these high export figures, the international market is now concerned not only about product quality but also social aspects, labor, human rights, and the working conditions of fisheries workers. This demands collective efforts to ensure that workers and fishermen do not suffer violations of their rights, such as forced labor or human trafficking.
“International buyers are now paying more attention to social aspects, including human rights and labor, in the fisheries industry,” explained M. Zulficar a DFW advisor.
The meeting, combined with a workshop, featured three speakers providing insights and information on the monitoring mechanisms for fisheries workers, the potential for fisheries worker monitoring programs, and legal aspects. Lena Kurnawati, an Expert Labor Inspector from the Indonesian Ministry of Labor, explained the monitoring mechanisms for fishing vessel crew and fisheries workers.
Labor monitoring involves three stages: pre-monitoring, inspection, and post-inspection. “Pre-monitoring includes educational, preventive aspects; we provide initial socialization. Second, if there are findings during the inspection, there is a non-judicial repressive stage with warnings, and finally, judicial repression as the final warning to the employer,” Lena clarified.
She also emphasized the importance of commitment and support from various parties in conducting inspections alongside fishing vessels.
Dr. Ida Bagus, Head of the Economic and Natural Resources Division at the Bali Regional Development Planning Agency (Bappeda), provided a macroeconomic overview of development goals in the economic sector.
Dr. Ida highlighted budget challenges in achieving development targets and underscored the importance of skilled labor in developing Bali’s economy.
“Economic aspects must also achieve justice for workers and strengthen the industry to improve worker welfare,” said Dr. Putu Gede Arya Sumertha Yasa, Lecturer of the Faculty of Law at Udayana University, addressed the urgency and legal aspects of protecting fisheries workers.
Moreover, he stressed that policy development should consider juridical and philosophical aspects and require collaboration from various stakeholders.
This Multistakeholder Forum will serve as a platform for all involved parties to collaborate to enhance the protection of fisheries workers and fishermen.
Additionally, the creation of a Regional Action Plan (RAD) for the Protection of Fisheries Workers and Fishermen in Bali Province for 2023-2026 is proposed to provide strategic direction for the implementation of protection programs.
Eventually, the Regional Forum for the Protection of Fisheries Workers and Fishermen will be officially established through a Decree of the Bali Governor, allowing each working group to collaborate in program implementation.
This meeting marks an important milestone in improving the protection of fisheries workers in Bali Province.
By involving various stakeholders from different sectors, concrete steps are expected to be taken to strengthen the protection of fisheries workers and fishermen, ultimately leading to their well-being.