The new regulations applied by Indonesia are worrying for the Filipino tuna sector. (Photo: FB-Archive)
Local tuna sector frets over new Indonesian regulations
Tuesday, August 16, 2011, 23:30 (GMT + 9)
Indonesia will apply stricter fishing regulations starting 1 December – and said rules could have a negative effect on Filipino tuna sector, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Department of National Defense (DND).
Jakarta’s new fishing measures are prompting a far-reaching information campaign among the local fishing community. More importantly, however, said Meynardo Montealegre, DFA acting assistant secretary, the regulations approved on 1 June should motivate the Philippines to strengthen its preventive programmes through border patrols.
“We request the DND to apprise the Eastern Mindanao Command of these new developments, which will be relevant in the conduct of its functions in the PH [Philippine] Border Committee and border patrol,” he said, MindaNews reports.
The new Indonesian fishing regulations mandate that:
- Foreign companies seeking to start fishing operations in Indonesia must have integrated fishing operations and establish processing operations there as well;
- Exporting fresh fish from Indonesia is prohibited. The fish must first be processed there and only these processing companies may export the fish;
- Permits may be given to vessels based on the following: 0-10 gross tonnes (GT) by the regency or city, 10-60 GT by provincial, and above 60 GT by the Ministry of Fisheries;
- No foreign investment or foreign labour is allowed for ships weighing 60 GT or less;
- To work in fishing in Indonesia, foreigners must apply for work permits through the Indonesian Ministry of Labour;
- During the five-year term permit for vessels weighing above 60 GT, the following manning operations should be followed: During the first year, the percentage of foreign fishers should be at a maximum of 50 per cent; in the second year, 40 per cent; in the third year, 30 per cent; in the fourth year, 20 per cent; and in the fifth year, 10 per cent;
- By the sixth year, fishing vessels should employ 100 per cent Indonesian labour;
- Foreign companies must transfer their technology to the Indonesian employees of the fishing companies in question.
The Philippines and Indonesia’s bilateral fishing agreement ended in 2005 and was extended for another year, but has since then not been renewed.
Thousands of Filipino fishers have for many years gone to jail and been repatriated from Indonesia for illegal fishing activities. In July 2011 alone, nearly 100 Filipino fishers were imprisoned for illegal fishing and repatriated from Bitung in Indonesia.
Darlene Antonino Custodio, mayor of General Santos City, said Indonesia’s latest move represents a major concern for the local government and will comprise a major agenda in the 12th National Tuna Congress that will take place later this month, Asian Correspondent reports.
General Santos City hosts six of the Philippines’ seven tuna canneries. More than 20,000 people are employed directly by the sector.
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By Natalia Real