Manokwari, Jubi – Hundreds of local fishermen protested at the West Papua Marine and Fisheries Office on Thursday (9/11/2023). They called on the Fisheries Office to prevent fishing vessels from outside West Papua from operating in the local waters.
Ronald Mambieuw, the Chairman of the Street Parliament, one of the organizations protesting, said numerous fishing boats from outside West Papua were operating in the waters off Manokwari, adversely affecting the local fishermen’s catches. The influx of these vessels not only led to a decline in local catches but also contributed to marine pollution, impacting the overall health of the catch.
The protesters suspected that certain unscrupulous bureaucrats were granting operating permits to these vessels.
Mambieuw highlighted the gap between the catch ability of local fishermen and the larger vessels, leading to a decline in the quality of the local catch. This situation had forced some local fishermen to sell their boats.
Expressing their grievances, the local fishermen urged the government to take decisive action and address their concerns.
Melkias Werinussa, the Acting Head of the Marine and Fisheries Office, acknowledged the ongoing internal consolidation within his department, considering his recent appointment. He pledged to promptly address the fishermen’s concerns and take necessary actions.
Responding to allegations of corrupt practices in granting licenses, Melkias stated that he was still examining the policies implemented by the previous leadership.
The fishermen granted a three-day period for the Department to respond to their aspirations. Melkias acknowledged the demonstration as a corrective measure, tagging the need for his office to improve its internal bureaucratic system.