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In the midst of the increasingly threatening COVID-19 pandemic, employment was narrower. While the community needs food to fulfill their daily needs. Nearly half of the Province of Aceh has been designated a red zone, a condition which makes people have to live with all limitations. East Aceh Regency and a number of other districts / cities, are still classified as green.
Nevertheless, the local government continues to urge people to continue to comply with health protocols, such as wearing masks, keeping a distance and avoiding crowds. Although community activities are not restricted, the local district government (Pemkab) requests that the community continue to comply with the government's appeal and information, including those who are active at sea.
"Community activities are not limited, whether gardening, fishing and working. But still adhere to health protocols," said H. Husaini, East Aceh community leader, Tuesday (06/09/2020).
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, fishermen should have doubled profits, because various types of basic food items have increased prices. But just recently fishermen lost money due to fish prices decreased 2-3 times. "The catch is abundant, but the price of tuna fish from Rp 12,000 per kilogram is now Rp 5,000 per kilogram," said H. Husaini.
The decline in fish prices has affected the wages of lapal men (ABK) from Rp1.5 million per 10 days to Rp400 thousand - Rp500 thousand per 10 days. "Usually their wages in one sail for 10 days reach Rp1.5 million, even Rp2 million. If the price of fish such as tuna continues to hold out like this, then not a few of the fishermen will lose their jobs," explained H. Husaini.
In order for the price of wet fish such as tuna to remain normal, it is necessary to build a number of supporting facilities at PPI Idi, such as Cold Storake, so that fish catch can be stored longer in the cooling machine and will be sold when the community needs it.
"At present there is no cooling machine capable of accommodating fish with a capacity of 1,000 tons. If this facility is available, then the fish that are unloaded at PPI Idi, can we store longer," said H. Husaini.
While the East Aceh Regent, H. Hasballah HM.Thaib, SH, or Rocky, admitted that in the last two months the price of fish was not normal. These conditions are often conveyed by fishermen, even after Eid Eid 1441 Hijriyah fish prices are really unstable.
Rocky admitted, the COVID-19 outbreak was considered to have an influence on the marine and fisheries sector. Even though the catch is still quite abundant, the demand is actually decreasing. One reason is because the absorption of fish by the fishing industry is reduced by almost 50 percent compared to normal conditions.
"Responding to the conditions faced by fishermen today, we also hope that the central government will build a number of supporting facilities in PPI Idi, especially now that our port is classified as one of the largest fish producers on the island of Sumatra," concluded Rocky.