Since the 1998 economic crash in South East Asia, Indonesia’s fishers have lost many of the subsidies that supported their industry, including fuel subsidies. Fishing boats can no longer afford to go far out to sea and therefore, crowd the inshore waters, rapidly depleting the fish population in this area.
To add to the problem, richer countries like Japan and Taiwan are gaining access to Indonesia’s shores and Indonesia’s markets, and are allowed to pay only a five percent import tariff. If the World Trade Organisation (WTO) continues to support richer countries in this way, local fishers like Yadi Mulyadi will be unable to compete. And there is the added danger that Indonesia’s waters will be over-fished.