Industrialization of the Fishery Sector Able to Propel West Papua’s Economy
West Papua province is known to have a huge natural marine wealth in the form of abundant fishery products and diversity of aquatic ecosystems. The fishery sector contributes about 4.36 percent to the Gross Regional Domestic Product (PDRB) of West Papua Province.
In terms of business output, the aquaculture sector has greater value added, sustainability, and financing that is relatively less than the catch fishery sector. Economically, fish farming takes longer time than sea and public water fishing, but fishing requires considerable cost.
From the economic side, the aquaculture sector is more profitable because it is not affected by seasons. In terms of potential resources, the province of West Papua actually has ample marine wealth because it is surrounded by open seas, especially the Raja Ampat regency.
West Papua also has quite a large number of islands, as many as 1,945 islands, and this means that West Papua has great fishery potential and can supply raw materials to the processing industry of fishery products, such as canned fish or frozen shrimp.
The industrialization effort of the fishery sector is predicted to drive West Papua’s economy because there is no need to importraw materials, so the existence of this sector will give impact to other sectors.
This industrialization is known as Blue Economy, which is a new paradigm that aims to generate economic growth from the marine and fisheries sector, while ensuring the sustainability of resources and coastal and ocean environments.
Fishery industrialization is an effort to make the fishery sector into an industrial activity and oriented on an industrial scale.
Fishery industrialization develops an integrated fisheries sector from upstream to downstream. This integration will create equality of upstream and downstream fisheries business.
The concept of fishery industrialization developed by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) is a fishery industrialization program that aims to increase productivity andvalue-added of fishery products, while increasing competitiveness based on science and technology.
The objectives to be achieved in this blue economy-based fishery industrialization are; increased value-added; increasing competitiveness; modernization of upstream and downstream production systems; strengthening of commodity-based fishery industry, regional and management system; sustainability, and; social transformation.
The concept of fishery industrialization can actually provide the right benefits if the target is clear, the program focused, and sustainable.
One of the problems in the development of the fisheries sector in West Papua is the lack of marketing areas, especially since fishermen do not have a bargaining position at a price equal to that of the big fish sellers.
Therefore, the Regional Government should be more active in encouraging the development of aquaculture fisheries, especially marine aquaculture.
The fate of fishermen needs attention, not only limited to the provision of fishing gears, but also in the provision of fish marketing areas.
The increase in fishery production does not always affect the welfare of fishermen. Industrial processed fishery products have higher value-added because in addition to fulfilling domestic needs in West Papua, it also contributes to the increase in Local Revenue through exports.
And the export value of industrial processed agricultural products is much higher than the value of raw fishery commodities.
Blue economy is very appropriate for the development of fishery-based economy in the fisheries sector such as in West Papua.
The focus is not on increasing agricultural production annually but on how to optimize West Papua’s fisheries potential through a synergic, sustainable, and environmentally sound program.
Fishery industrialization needs to be developed without exploiting the marine ecosystem excessively because it is mainly for the improvement of the fishermen’s welfare, especially in the coastal areas.
Therefore, local governments need to develop a blue economy master plan which is targeted and oriented towards the fishery sub-sector as a driver of the economy, especially aquaculture.
Certainly, it cannot be separated from government support because most fishery household businesses have a scale of medium and below.
The concept of blue economy should be implemented with the full support of local governments, entrepreneurs, investors, and other stakeholders for a better future of West Papua’s fisheries sub-sector and the realization of the society’s welfare, especially fishermen.