By Andi Abdussalam
JAKARTA, Sept 9 (Bernama) — With a blue economic concept, Indonesia is developing its marine and fisheries sectors through global partners to face global food challenges and a free trade era, Indonesia’s Antara news reports.
“The world is currently facing a food security challenge in feeding its population which will reach about nine billion by 2050,” Marine Affairs and Fisheries Minister Sharif Cicip Sutardjo saidMonday.
“Indonesia is considered consistent in accelerating the development of its national marine and fisheries sectors in the framework of blue growth,” he said.
Data from the World Bank and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that by 2030, nearly two-thirds of consumption of fishery products in the world will come from the fishery sub-sector.
The Asian region, including South Asia, Southeast Asia, China and Japan, are projected to meet 70 per cent of the global fish demand.
Indonesia, the World Bank and FAO are holding a workshop on Blue Growth Global Alliance and Food Security to develop a work plan to be forwarded to the 6th Annual BlueTech and Blue Economy Summit in November this year.
Sharif said the world will face multiple challenges in food security in the future, and Indonesia and the world community must provide an immediate response.
Integrated efforts are needed to transform the world economy towards sustainable development which equitably and efficiently utilises resources.
The presence of blue economy paradigm, according to Sharif, is one of these responses to the food issues.
Blue economy is an economic development model that unites sea and land development by emphasising optimisation of the use of technology, industry, land and marine waters that leads to increased use of marine resources.
This initiative is a positive momentum to encourage and accelerate the implementation of concrete actions and partnerships in the development of blue growth to support national security and food self-sufficiency.
Twenty-one countries grouped in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have agreed to focus cooperation in development of blue economy.
The agreement to make blue economy as the main focus of APEC cooperation has been confirmed in the Xiamen declaration approved in the recent APEC Ocean-related Ministerial Meeting (AOMM) in Xiamen, China.
There are three priority fields of cooperation.
The first is conservation of ecosystem and coastal areas and resistance to natural disasters. The second is the contribution of the seas to food security and food related trade, and the third concerns marine affairs science, technology and innovation.
Marine and Fishery Ministry’s secretary general Sjarief Widjaya said the fisheries sector in countries around the world, including Indonesia, has played a key role in achieving global food resilience.
Indonesia is the third largest supplier of fish products in the world after Myanmar and Cambodia, which has resulted in the fishery sector becoming the mainstay of world food security, said Sjarief at the International Fishery Conference in South Sumatra last week.
Besides supporting the world’s food security, fishery products have also become the livelihood of communities across the world, including in Southeast Asia.
The blue economic concept has thus increasingly played an important role in the development of the marine sector.
Sharif said blue economy has been successfully developed in Indonesia such as in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara and Nusa Peninda, Bali in cooperation with FAO.
He said that the presence of the blue economy paradigm in the development of national marine synergy is a reflection of growth, development and the environment, which is based on the triple helix model.
In this model, the application of marine economy in the framework of blue economy will be synergised with various local and national policies, human resources, technologies, access to finance, industrialisation, education and public awareness about marine potential.
Sharif stated that Indonesia has development potential that is much larger and diverse than that of other countries. If these marine potentials are well-managed then approximately 85 per cent of the national economy, including food, will be supported by marine resources.
The marine and fishery sectors have inevitably become the main backbone of the Indonesian economy as 75 per cent or 5.8 million square kilometres of Indonesia’s territory is sea which is greater than its land area.
The marine sector showed a significant growth of above six percent in 2010-2013, while the sector has contributed 22 per cent to gross domestic product (GDP).
Sjarief said earlier his ministry has this year set a production target of 20.95 million tonnes of fish, with an expected export of US$5.65 billion.
“The target consists of 6.08 million tonnes of catch fish and 13.97 million tonnes of cultured fish,” he said in a statement early this month.
The ministry’s data shows that Indonesia’s fishery product exports in 2013 totalled US$4.18 billion. It hopes that by 2019 fishery exports will increase to US$10 billion.
The ministry is also gearing up in the face of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) by preparing efficient human resources.
“These measures have been taken for the industrialisation of fisheries, stabilisation of food security and sovereignty, and creation of job opportunities,” said Sharif in a press release receivedMonday.
Secretary general of the People’s Coalition for Fishery Justice (Kiara) Abdul Halim said small-scale fishermen and fish breeders were not ready yet to face the Asean free market which will be implemented by the end of next year.
He said the ministry of marine affairs and fisheries had not provided fishermen with a work plan in the lead up to the AEC.
“If no care is taken, fishermen and fish breeders could only become daily workers amid regional competition,” he warned.