Earlier this month, Siti Aisyah Amini, a fourth-year law student, took a break from campus life in Semarang, Indonesia, to attend the Food and Agriculture Organization’s Committee on Fisheries summit.

Not from a fisher family herself, 24-year-old Aisyah, who goes by her middle name, was drawn to the issue of fishers’ rights after reading articles about the condition of fishers and developing a nagging sense that they were not getting the attention they needed in Indonesia, the world’s fourth-most-populous country.

In 2019, she joined the Indonesian Traditional Fishers Union (KNTI), a branch of the World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP), and in 2020 served as WFFP’s Asia regional coordinator. The following year, she took on her current position as head of human resources at KNTI. So it was no surprise when Food First Information and Action Network and the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Indonesia tapped Aisyah to represent another global food sovereignty alliance: the International Planning Committee for Food Sovereignty’s Youth Working Group (IPC-Youth).

“Indonesia is a maritime nation, with abundant marine resources that theoretically should help fishers prosper. Yet they aren’t,” Asiyah, who is in her final year at Sultan Agung Islamic University in Semarang, told Mongabay. “Something needs to be fixed; fishers should live full lives with good health, education and equal social standing. Instead fishers are marginalized.”

At the summit in Rome, Aisyah made a presentation lamenting the decreasing number of fishers in Indonesia. Her pet advocacy topic is the need for youth and technology to be involved in policymaking to break the prevailing view that marginalizes fishing communities. Providing subsidized fuel is one area where Aisyah insists the government must help.

“Fishers do not receive attention from the government now,” Aisyah said. “This could push future generations to adopt the same apathetic outlook toward fishermen and fishing as a way of life. Fishers are already advising their children to choose other professions.”

Aisyah said hopes the idea of a “modern fisher,” one who embraces technology in all stages of the fishery, from fish capture, to production and marketing, might “at least engage young people to be involved in Indonesian fisheries and marine affairs.”

Government officials appear to agree with Aisyah. At the Fisheries Millennial and Startup Expo held in the capital Jakarta in May, the fisheries ministry invited millennials to innovate in advancing the marine and fisheries sector.