Tue, 01 Aug 2000

City to have three new fish auction centers

JAKARTA (JP): Jakarta will soon have three new fish auction centers, besides the one in Muara Angke, North Jakarta, as part of the administration's double-edged campaign to promote the fishing industry and the consumption of fish.

The new centers will be built in Kamal Muara, Kali Baru and Cilincing, Moch. Rahardjo, head of the Fishery Agency said on Monday.

"The plan will help boost fish production in the capital," Rahardjo told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of a meeting with the City Council's Commission B on economic affairs to discuss the agency's work.

The three new auction centers, all in North Jakarta, already have sizable numbers of fishermen in the areas.

The capital receives fresh fish supplies of 200 tons daily from various sources, including the Muara Angke market. But, with the three additional auction centers, the total could reach 250 tons a day, Rahardjo said.

The Fishery Agency will coordinate with other institutions, including the Public Works Agency, in setting up the infrastructure and other facilities in the new centers.

With the additional centers, Jakarta could become a major center for the fishing industry, including for the export trade, he said.

Rahardjo said the annual per capita consumption of fish, including sea and fresh water fish, among Jakarta's estimated 11 million population, averaged 21.8 kilograms in 1999.

This is far below the ideal level of 26 kilograms set by the government to ensure a protein intake of 10 grams a day for every adult, six grams of which come from fish and the remaining four from poultry, eggs and beef.

"The low fish intake doesn't necessarily mean a deficiency in protein; many people get their daily protein requirement from other sources, such as eggs and poultry," he said.

The fishery sector produced at least 94,770 tons, both sea and fresh water fish, in 1999, against 75,600 tons in 1998. The sector employs about 154,500 people, including 20,500 fisherman, according to official figures.

The Fishery Agency plans to set up a unit to monitor the quality of fish imported from outside Jakarta, and the use of hazardous chemicals during the production process, Rahardjo said, citing as an example the widespread use of borax (preservatives) in making fishballs.

The city also plans to campaign to promote fish consumption among residents.

"We hope fish will become part of their daily meals," Rahardjo said.

He noted that many people still preferred the inexpensive ikan asin (traditionally-processed salted fish) to fresh fish.

"They should be encouraged to eat better fish, like tuna and mackerel, which have higher protein," he said.

The administration has also been campaigning to promote fish products such as siomay and otak-otak among children. (lup)