Marine and Fishery Minister Susi Pudjiastuti.
Ambon, Maluku, 05 Rajab 1438/02 March 2017 (MINA) – Marine and Fishery Minister Susi Pudjiastuti has ordered for the sinking of 81 fishing boats, found guilty of illegal fishing, Antara News reported.
The boats were exploded at once in 12 different areas in the country on Saturday with the minister giving the order from this capital city of Maluku.
Six of the vessels belonged to Indonesian fishing companies and the rest were foreign fishing boats including 46 Vietnamese, 18 Philippine and 11 Malaysian ships.
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti, who observed the sinking of the boats from Ambon, called it a victory for Indonesia’s war against illegal fishing.
“There was a time when thousands of foreign vessels came freely to steal our fish, but now they will know, Indonesia will overcome this crime”, she said in a statement.
President Joko Widodo has said last year that Indonesia suffers annual losses of more than US$20 billion (S$29.3 billion) from poaching in its territorial vast waters.
After he was elected, he appointed Ms Susi to the Fisheries Ministry and she has been the main driver behind his plan to revive the shipbuilding and fisheries industries in a bid to re-establish Indonesia as a maritime power.
To achieve the goal, Indonesia has been trying to maximise the potential of the sector through, among other things, modernisation of current industry practices, abolishing trans-shipment activities, and going after poachers.
Enhanced law enforcement efforts
Enforcement efforts have been ramped up in recent years, including the enhancement of its maritime surveillance capabilities.
The fihing boats had been arrested either for poaching in Indonesian waters or for using illegal fishing gears.
The foreign crew have been sent back to their home countries but the skippers were tried and punished.
Indonesia has exploded and sunk hundreds of fishing boats for illegal operation.
From October 2014 to April 2017, at least 317 fishing boats were destroyed in the sea . The largest number was those of Vietnam (142 units), the Philippines (76 units), Thailand (21 units), Malaysia (49 units), Indonesia (21 units), Papua New Guinea (2 units), China (1 unit) , Belize (1 unit), stateless (4 units). (T/RS5/RS1)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)