Investment in Aceh's Marine and Fisheries Industry
Aceh stands out for its potential in marine and fisheries resources. With a vast expanse of waters covering 295,370 km², a coastline stretching 2,666.3 km, and encompassing 119 islands, Aceh is ready for the development of diverse fishing and aquaculture commodities. Such development could significantly enhance the well-being of its people and boost the region's economy.
Data from the Aceh Marine and Fisheries Department reveals that in 2020, the catched fish production reached 272,700 tons, while aquaculture production was around 53,000 tons. The province is home to 16,701 fishing vessels, manned by approximately 64,466 fishermen. Additionally, Aceh boasts 53,000 hectares of fish farming land, operated by about 17,000 farmers.
The potential of Aceh's marine and fisheries industry can be seen from various perspectives, encompassing geographic, biological, and socio-economic aspects. Geographically, Aceh's strategic location, bordering the Strait of Malacca and the Indian Ocean—both key international trade routes and rich fishing grounds—is noteworthy. The region's small islands also present opportunities for marine tourism and conservation.
Biologically, Aceh is a treasure trove of marine biodiversity, hosting a variety of species like fish, shrimp, seaweed, sea cucumbers, and pearls. Notable commodities include tuna, skipjack, mackerel, flying fish, grouper, snapper, tiger prawn, white shrimp, eucheuma cottonii seaweed, and sandfish.
From a socio-economic perspective, the majority of Aceh's community is engaged in fishing or fish farming. The marine and fisheries sector contributes significantly to Aceh's Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP), accounting for 6.67% in 2019. It also provides employment to about 10% of Aceh's workforce.
The potential in the marine and fisheries sector varies across different districts in Aceh, each with its unique characteristics and resources. For instance, Banda Aceh hosts the Kutaraja Ocean Fishing Port (PPS Kutaraja) at Lampulo, one of Indonesia's largest fishing ports, accommodating about 300 vessels with an annual capacity of 10,000 tons. The city also shows promise for developing fish processing industries like frozen fish fillets, canned tuna, fish floss, and fish crackers.
Simeulue District is poised for the development of tuna and mackerel fishing, as well as seaweed and sea cucumber farming. It also holds potential for marine tourism activities like surfing, diving, and snorkeling. Aceh Jaya, West Aceh, and South Aceh districts offer opportunities in fishing species like flying fish, skipjack, grouper, and snapper, along with tiger prawn and seaweed farming.
The northern and eastern regions of Aceh, including Pidie Jaya, Pidie, Lhokseumawe, North Aceh, and East Aceh, are also rich in potential, particularly for fishing and aquaculture.
Despite its vast potential, Aceh's marine and fisheries industry faces challenges that need to be addressed, such as infrastructure and facility improvements. Investment in the fishing industry remains minimal, though the sector holds tremendous potential. Human resource development is crucial, alongside the adoption of appropriate, environmentally-friendly technologies to enhance productivity and efficiency in the marine and fisheries sector.