The Philippines and Thailand are countries in Southeast Asia that made the city of Bitung, North Sulawesi, a place to study fishing vessel crew protection models. Representatives of the two countries visited Bitung city on Thursday, 1/30/2020. The purpose of the visit was to see and learn about the fishing vessel crew protection format developed by the SAFE Seas Project (SSP). The program implemented by the Indonesian International Plan Foundation (YPII) with DFW-Indonesia shows that forced labour and trafficking practices in the capture fisheries sector need to be reduced through multistakeholder cooperation.
Indonesia’s Destructive Fishing Watch (DFW) National Coordinator, Moh Abdi Suhufan said that efforts to protect fishing vessel crews in North Sulawesi and Bitung were carried out through a multistakeholder approach with strong national, educational and preventive regulatory support at the community level. “The Safe Fishing Alliance (SFA) platform at the North Sulawesi provincial level and the formation of a fisher centre at the community level in the city of Bitung have proven to be able to bridge the problems and gaps in the efforts to protect fishing vessel crews that have been felt by the government, the private sector and the crew themselves,” Abdi said.
As is currently known the North Sulawesi provincial government has formed the North Sulawesi Fishing Vessel Crew Protection Forum (SFA) and some fishing vessel crews in the city of Bitung have initiated the formation of the Forum of Bitung Fishing Vessel Crew United (Forkab). The existence of the stakeholder forum becomes a medium of communication and coordination of the government, business actors, NGOs, trade unions and the media in responding to issues, problems and discrimination experienced by fishing vessel crews.
When receiving representatives from the two countries that visited Bitung, Vice Mayor of Bitung, Maurits Mantiri said that the Bitung city government was encouraging the revival of the fishing industry that was just and benefited all parties. “After the moratorium on foreign fishing vessels, we continue to encourage the growth of a higher quality fishery industry through a more equitable business model and respect for human rights of workers,” said Maurits.
In this context, he appreciated the SSP initiative which had carried out awareness and education efforts to fishing vessel crews in the city of Bitung as well as advocating for problems faced by the vessel crews working both at home and abroad and originating from the city of Bitung.
SSP Project Manager, Indonesian International Plan Foundation, Roosa Sibarani said that the facilitation carried out by the SSP was also provided to support the implementation of national regulations in the field of capture fisheries such as fisheries human rights certification. “We have assisted 10 fishing companies and fish processing units to get a human rights certificate from the Ministry of Marine and Fisheries,” said Roosa.
On a separate occasion, the Director-General of Capture Fisheries, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Zulficar Mochtar, supported the SSP initiative which has made new models and approaches in reducing indicators of forced labour and trafficking in person in the fishing business industry. “We cannot work alone, because indications of forced labour and trafficking are still happening in a more modern way. Its requires a multi doors approach and involves many parties. This initiative is very helpful for the government which is reforming the capture fishery business as a whole, “said Zulficar.