Fish are a crucial part of the marine ecosystem in Indonesia. They contribute to the food chain and the overall wellbeing of the ocean. Other than that, they are also important for Indonesians as food or source of livelihood. Unfortunately, they eventually lead to the problem of overfishing. It is an unwanted activity that could deplete the ocean from its needed fish population.
Continuous overfishing could also mean lack of fish for Indonesians to consume in the future. It’s necessary for people to know the 25 Causes of Overfishing in Indonesia. By knowing the causes, prevention is possible.
1. Large Population
Indonesia has a high number of population. It’s not so easy to feed more than 261 million people on a daily basis. This large population contributes to the consumption of fish in the country. Lots of fish are needed to fulfil the people’s needs for a good source of protein.
2. Huge Consumers’ Demand
Consumers’ demand is always increasing. People from all over Indonesia want fish to be a part of their diet due to their nutrient value. This would mean that fisheries must catch a large amount of fish, which could risk overfishing. If the demand is not fulfilled then the country’s economy and many people’s livelihoods could face troubles.
Also read: Consumer Buying Habits in Indonesia
3. Harmful Fishing Methods
Despite how active Indonesia is in the world of fisheries, many still do not understand sustainable and safe fishing methods. A lot of fishermen still carry out their fishing using harmful methods. They use bombs or nets for faster fishing. This will cause a great decline of the fish population in the ocean.
Fisheries are profitable business in Indonesia. Due to that, many would often fish to gain more money. They would fish without any limits because they want to earn as much money as possible. Overfishing happens when there’s no limit of fishing that people follow through.
Read about: Importance of Agriculture in Indonesia
5. Intense Machineries
With the development of technology, fishing industries don’t use the traditional method of fishing. They rely more on huge and intense machineries to carry out all the fishing for them. With these machineries, the fishing industries will catch a lot more fish regularly. Though the result is pleasing, the catch could be far too much.
6. Unregulated Fishing
Regulated fishing is necessary to maintain a healthy amount of fish in the ocean. Fishing activities that are unregulated are at a higher risk to carry out unsustainable fishing. Though some places in Indonesia follow the regulations, many will still find a loophole for their own personal gain.
7. Consumers’ Unawareness
Often times, the consumers take a part of the blame too. Their unawareness of the fishing industries will only drive overfishing to become worse. They do not understand that their demand is what pushes many fishing industries to eagerly catch more fish. They should choose to ask for fish high in productions, not the ones that are quite slow to grow.
8. Common Food Source
Fish is a very common food source in Indonesia. After all, it is a country that is surrounded by seas. Almost every region is supplied with fish. It can be found in many huge supermarkets or the traditional markets. The fact that it’s so common is adding to the demand of fishing everywhere.
Read more: Traditional Market in Indonesia
9. Lack of Knowledge
Unfortunately, there is still an apparent lack of knowledge about sustainable fishing in the industry. Big industries who can gain this knowledge may choose to ignore it for the sake of profit. Both ignorance and lack of knowledge is hurting the fish population because of overfishing. Many refuse to see that maintaining the fish population is crucial as their abundance doesn’t last forever.
Read more: Facts about Education in Indonesia
There are countries that give subsidies to large fishing industries. Indonesia is one of them. Giving subsidies will only do more harm than good. This will enable large fishing industries to reach far into the oceans, causing more overfishing. Sometimes subsidies are given out at a large rate more than what is needed which only enable the fishing industries to overexploit the ocean.
11. Unprotected Areas
There are areas that lack the attention of the government. These unprotected areas are more vulnerable to overfishing. There is no law and no regulation that ban any fishing activities in the area. Local fishermen and fishing industries can just go to these areas to have more fish turned into profit.
Poverty is a complicated issue when it is related to overfishing. People who are living in poverty lack the education needed to understand the harm of overfishing. Poverty also drives people to do whatever they can to survive. It forces people to carry out unsustainable fishing activities because their main goal is to get money for their livelihood.
Also read: Types of Poverty in Indonesia
13. Imbalanced Resources
Imbalanced resources is also a cause for overfishing. For instance, meat from animals such as goats and cows can often be too expensive for people to purchase. This will cause many consumers to look for other alternatives, especially fish.
See also: Rare Fish in Indonesia
14. Affordable Source of Proteins
Indonesia has a wide variety of fish that are marketable. With the array of choices, people can purchase fish according to their budget. For many Indonesians, fish is a source of protein that is a lot more affordable than any other source of nutrients. According to research, around 54% of the proteins that Indonesians gain actually come from all sorts of seafood. This particular reason is also adding to the overfishing problem in the country.
15. Population Nearby Coastal Regions
People who live close to the coastal regions can also cause overfishing. The effect can become more serious if the population continues to increase. As they live near the coastal regions, the easiest food source would be fish and other kinds of seafood. The local fishermen in the area would have to catch more fish to keep people alive.
Read more: Typical Meals in Indonesia
Trawling is the process of using nets up to the bottom of the ocean. The nets will pick up more fish this way. This will cause a great reduction of the fish population as many of them are fished out. Trawling is a terrible way of fishing that causes overpopulation as the young fish are caught in the nets too. They are not given the chance to grow.
17. Corrupted Government
Indonesia is widely known for its corrupted governments. When those in authorities are able to be bribed by the large fish industries then overfishing becomes a frequent problem. It will weaken the already existing fishing regulations. But due to corruption, people can fish freely without any real consequences.
Read on: Bad Culture in Indonesia
Other Causes of Overfishing in Indonesia
These are other causes that you should know about too.
- Catching Slow Growing Fish Species: Some fish species such as tuna grow very slowly but are always in demand which require fishermen to catch them.
- Wild Caught Fish: Indonesia is the 2nd producer of wild caught fish that contributes to population demand for fish.
- Increasing Export Rate: This will cause a huge increase in demand for more fish from Indonesia.
- Illegal Fishing: Increases the rate of overfishing as many are not monitored.
- Effects from Bycatch: Untargeted fish are killed or wasted due to large bycatch.
- Unselective Fishing: There is increased overfishing when it is done without separating the young and the old.
- Undermining Sustainable Fishing: People may still see that fish are in abundance and put little care in sustainable methods of fishing.
- Low Market Price: Cheap fish will only cause more demand for it.
Overfishing is a terrible practice that needs to be stopped. It puts many fish into the danger of depopulation. However, it is currently still a reversible problem. With more efforts for a more sustainable way of fishing, overfishing can be prevented.