Fisheries in Indonesia have become one of the sectors that can not escape the impact of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Policies of the Indonesian Government to reduce the spread of epidemics by carrying out regional quarantine has dealt a significant blow to the capture and aquaculture sector in Indonesia. The fishermen in various regions in Indonesia, such as in Kendal (Central Java), Muara Angke (Jakarta) up to Serdang Bedagai (North Sumatra), complained about the low price of their catch. This is due to the fact that many processing factories and fish auction sites are plagued by logistical problems or have even been closed down in order to follow the government’s advice to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 outbreak.
A pandemic has forced fishers to sell their catch at very cheap prices. As in Kendal, Central Java, the fish are usually sold to factories for Rp. 40,000 / kg, now being sold to the public at prices ranging from Rp.15.000- 20,000 / kg. The same difficulty is experienced by fishermen groups in the Thousand Islands of DKI Jakarta. Sea squid prices that are usually sold Rp. 80,000 / kg now only priced at Rp. 40,000 / kg. The lack of choice makes fishers take price risks compared to the risk of damaged catches, and of course, the impact on prices will be even lower.
A ray of hope appeared in the midst of the difficulties faced by small-scale fishermen in the various regions. The Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP), through a release on news.kkp.go.id, stated that exports of Indonesian fishery products from January to March 2020 have increased.[i] This is due to restrictions on trade to China in the early 2020s, which has encouraged fisheries businesses in Indonesia to find new markets for their products. The United States and European markets have now become the most prominent export directions for Shrimp and TTC (Tuna-Tongkol-Cakalang) commodities from Indonesia. The Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) noted that the export value of Indonesian fishery in March 2020 reached 427.71 million US dollars, an increase of 6.34 percent compared to exports in the previous month. Meanwhile, the cumulative export value in the first quarter of 2020 reached 1.24 billion US dollars, with a total export volume reaching 295.13 thousand tons.[ii]
The government, in this case, the KKP, also continues to strive to reduce the economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak. The KKP Minister, Edhy Prabowo, in a Virtual Work Meeting with Commission IV of the Indonesian Parliament, stated that the KKP would relocate a budget of Rp. 483.74 billion to accelerate economic recovery affected by the Covid-19 virus pandemic. He also proposed six economic stimulus packages for the marine and fisheries sector.
Covid-19 pandemic has indeed given challenges and difficulties for all parties, be it fishermen, cultivators, industry, government, and other stakeholders. But with the joint efforts of all lines in the marine and fisheries sector, let’s be optimistic. Hopefully, the economic impact arising from the outbreak of this pandemic can be faced together, dear Seavers.!
[i] News.kkp.go.id. Ekspor Perikanan Naik di Tengah Pandemi Covid-19. 23 Maret 2020, Retrieved From https://news.kkp.go.id/index.php/ekspor-perikanan-naik-di-tengah-pandemi-covid-19/
[ii] Data From The Central Bureau of Statistics Indonesia (Badan Pusat Statistik Indonesia)