Protesting fishermen leaders meet President Jjokowi at Merdeka Palace

Jakarta (ANTARA News) – President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) heard complained of fishermen, whose leaders met him at the Merdeka Palace here on Wednesday.

The meeting took place when large group of protesting fishermen rallied at the National Monument Square just across the road in front of the palace demanding the lifting of ban on fishing with cantrang, which is called trawl by Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti.

“Cantrang is not the same as trawl,” the protesters said.

At the meeting with the leaders of the protesters, Jokowi was accompanied by Susi and Minister at the State Secretariat Pratikno.

Some of the protesters, who claimed coming from northern coastal villages of Java and some from as far as North Sumatra and Kalimantan, already gathered at the Monas Square at 8.30 when the palace was still busy preparing the ceremony for the official installation of a new Air Force Chief of Staff, a cabinet minister and palace officials.

Jokowi was able to receive the fishermen leaders at 15.30. No immediate information was available about the result of the meeting with the fishermen.

Susi Pudjiastuti has been strongly against the use of cantrang which she called trawl saying the use of cantrang would damage the sea resources.

Tegal Regent Enthus Susmono, who was at the palace ground that afternoon said the fishermen strongly denied calling cantrang the same as trawl.

The cantrang controversy has set fishermen against Minister Susi Pudjoiastuti, who is known for her tough and more controversial policy of sinking fishing ships found illegally operating in Indonesian waters.

Enthus said the ban on cantrang fishing had badly hurt the fishermen, sharply reducing their fish catch, adding “Hopefully the government would find a solution to the cantrang issue.

Enthus said he came to Jakarta together with other leaders of northern Java coastal districts administration including the Tegal city Mayor, the district heads of Rembang and of Pati.

Source: ANTARA News