North Sulawesi Spearheads Initiative: Forging of the Forum for Fisherman and Fishery Workers Protection

In an effort to enhance the protection and welfare of fishermen and fishery workers in North Sulawesi, Governor Olly Dondokambey has established the Regional Forum for the Protection of Fishermen and Fishery Workers (Forda P3N). The Governor’s Decree, signed on July 14, 2023, with number 249 of 2023, designates the Provincial Secretary as the Chairman of the Regional Forum for three years, from 2023 to 2026. Forda P3N includes representatives from the local government, central government, labor unions, NGOs, businesses, universities, and media.

The Decree outlines that Forda P3N consists of three Working Groups: Working Group 1 on Regulation Strengthening, Working Group II on Joint Supervision, and Working Group III on Education and Campaigns. Alongside the Working Group structure, the policy includes a Regional Action Plan to be implemented by the Forda P3N Working Groups over the next three years 2023-2026.

Governor Olly Dondokambey emphasizes the need for an integrated initiative and approach from the North Sulawesi provincial government, encompassing social, economic, and legal protection for fishermen and fishery workers. “The North Sulawesi provincial government must provide comprehensive and sustainable protection to fishermen and fishery workers both domestically and internationally,” says Olly.

As known, North Sulawesi has been a region that serves as an origin of fishery workers for domestic and foreign fishing vessels, including migrant workers. “Forda is a multi-stakeholder forum expected to be a platform for communication, coordination, and activities oriented towards the protection of fisheries and fishermen workers,” adds Olly.

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Mohamad Abdi Suhufan, the National Coordinator of Destructive Fishing Watch (DFW) Indonesia, views the formation of Regional Forum P3N as a progressive step and a continuation of previous policies. “In 2020, the Governor of North Sulawesi established the Regional Forum for the Protection of Fishers, and now it has evolved by including the fishermen in the new Decree,” says Abdi.

The addition of fishermen in this decision is based on the fact that there is no specific protection regulation for fishermen in North Sulawesi. In contrast, both small-scale fishermen and large-scale industrial fishing vessels contribute to the fish supply chain.

“The tuna supply chain in North Sulawesi involves industrial vessels, small-scale fishermen, and workers in fish processing units. Therefore, protection for workers in this chain needs to be viewed comprehensively with optimal protective interventions,” explains Abdi.

The work characteristics and risks workers face on fishing vessels and small-scale fishermen are similar, mainly related to threats to safety and health at sea. “The existence of the North Sulawesi Regional Forum is expected to ensure that capture fisheries and fish processing can be carried out in compliance with labor standards and human rights,” Abdi asserts.

Quoting data from BKIPM (Fish Quarantine Center for Quality Control and Safety of Fishery Products) North Sulawesi, the export volume of tuna products from January to September 2022 reached 16,000 tons, with a value of 1.8 trillion Indonesian Rupiahs. These tuna products have been exported to countries such as Thailand, the United States, the Philippines, Canada, Japan, and Singapore.

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