Following the meeting with stakeholder representatives, particularly the Central Java Province Marine and Fisheries Agency, in its capacity as a think tank and policy advocacy group, IOJI supports efforts to strengthen the protection and empowerment of small-scale fishermen, laboring fishermen, and female fishermen.
On January 18, 2023, the Central Java Provincial Government enacted Regional Regulation of Central Java Province (Perda Pemprov Jateng) Number 1 of 2023 concerning the Protection and Empowerment of Fisheries and Salt Farming Businesses.
This regulation aims to achieve the well-being and provide protection and empowerment for those involved in fisheries and salt farming businesses. This objective aligns with the authority of Central Java Province, with its implementation requiring a Governor’s Regulation.
Continuing from the meetings with the Central Java Province Marine and Fisheries Agency (Dinas Kelautan dan Perikanan Provinsi Jawa Tengah) on November 23, 2022, and December 22, 2022, IOJI intends to assist the Provincial Marine and Fisheries Agency in the drafting of the Governor’s Regulation, particularly related to the protection and empowerment of small-scale fishermen, female fishermen, and laboring fishermen.
Small-scale fishermen constitute one of the most vulnerable communities in Indonesia. This vulnerability is primarily attributed to two factors: natural factors and socio-economic and political factors. First, natural factors include pollution, environmental degradation, overexploitation of fishery resources, and climate change.
Small-scale fishermen in Indonesia have taken on higher risks or reduced the number of days spent at sea over the past decade due to increasingly common extreme weather conditions. This has heightened risks for fishermen and their families while decreasing overall income as coastal fish stocks have depleted.
Second, threats from socio-economic and political factors arise from imbalanced power relations between fishermen and other actors in the fisheries sector (middlemen and large-scale fishing industry); between fishermen and non-fishery marine beneficiaries (tourism operators, coastal mining); and between fishermen and the state as policymakers. For instance, middlemen may exploit fishermen by unilaterally setting very low fish prices.
Similar vulnerabilities are also present in Central Java Province. Central Java is one of the Indonesian provinces with the highest number of fishermen. In 2021, 263,233 Indonesian fishermen were from Central Java. Among these, 364,652 were categorized as small-scale fishermen (engaging in fishing with vessels between 0-10 GT).
In Central Java, local fishermen face various issues, including the impacts of climate change such as tidal floods and coastal erosion. Coastal areas along the North Coast of Java such as Pekalongan, Semarang, and Demak frequently experience tidal floods.
In this context, IOJI is assisting the Central Java provincial government with:
A. Assistance in the drafting of Governor’s Regulation on the Protection and Empowerment of Small-Scale Fishermen and Small-Scale Fish Breeders. Assistance includes:
B. Assisting in the development of a curriculum for fishermen’s education, including training, targeting marginalized groups whose livelihoods depend on the sea, such as small-scale fishermen, laboring fishermen, and female fishermen, regarding their basic rights and how to advocate for those rights.