Nondiscriminatory fight launched against illegal fishing activities in Indonesian waters

Nondiscriminatory fight launched against illegal fishing activities in Indonesian waters

Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti with background map of the Republic of Indonesia. (ANTARA/Rosa Panggabean)

This stateless vessel has conducted IUU activities in some parts of the world for a long time."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti has been consistent and courageous in her approach to fight illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) activities in Indonesian waters.

To protect the sovereignty of Indonesias maritime territory and safeguard its marine resources, Minister Susi has vowed to continue taking firm action by destroying fishing boats or ships caught poaching in Indonesian waters, regardless of their countries of origin.

Indonesias consistent stance was demonstrated in late May 2016 when the Naval ship Oswal Siahaan-354 detained Chinese fishing trawler Gui Bei Yu for poaching in the nations exclusive economic zone in Natuna Sea, Riau Islands.

The warship was forced to fire several warning shots against the Chinese fishing boat before finally detaining it.

Indonesias maritime security authorities deserve a thumbs up for their bravery in carrying out the arrest despite the presence of a Chinese governments ship.

Various media platforms in China had reported the Chinese governments claim that the fishing vessel was operating in a "traditional fishing ground," which in fact, was not recognized internationally.

The Indonesian government has affirmed that the area is within its territory, and therefore, it has sent a diplomatic note seeking a clarification on the "traditional fishing ground" claimed by China.

However, the Foreign Ministry has, so far, not received any protest note from China against the Indonesian Navys step to impound the Chinese fishing vessel.

The All Indonesian Fishermens Association (HNSI) has lauded the arrest and called on all elements of Indonesias society to support the measure.

"HNSI also gives full support (to the arrest)," North Sumatras HNSI Chairman, Syah Afandin, noted recently.

The courage to detain the Chinese fishing trawler for poaching in the Natuna waters, Riau Islands, demonstrated that Indonesia had upheld its sovereignty, he emphasized.

Afandin also praised Indonesias maritime security authorities for being fearless in conducting the arrest despite the presence of a Chinese governments ship.

A similar incident involving a Chinese fishing vessel had occurred earlier when her ministrys patrol ship Hiu 11 had intercepted and detained FV Kway Fey 10078 on March 19 for fishing illegally in the Indonesian waters off Natuna, Riau Islands.

However, when the 200-gross tonnage (GT) Kway Fei was being towed ashore by Hiu 11, a Chinese coastguard ship suddenly approached and rammed into the boat in a bid to prevent it from being taken away. To avoid a clash, the officers of the maritime and fishery ministry then released the vessel and only detained its eight crew members.

Indonesia registered a major victory in its fight against illegal fishing when it sank the last of the "Bandit 6" toothfish poaching vessels, the Viking, in Pangandaran, West Java, in March 2016.

"This stateless vessel has conducted IUU activities in some parts of the world for a long time," Minister Susi pointed out.

Thanks to a tip-off from the environmental organization Sea Shepherds Operation Icefish 2015-16 Campaign Leader, Captain Siddharth Chakravarty, the Indonesian Navy announced on February 26 that it had detained the Viking.

Following two weeks of investigations, the Indonesian authorities charged the Viking and its crew with fisheries crimes.

The vessel was subsequently sunk in accordance with the Indonesian law.

The Vikings captain, Huan Venesa of Chile, and its crew of 10 from Indonesia, Chile, Argentina, Myanmar, and Peru are still in detention in Indonesia.

Indonesia, under the administration of President Joko Widodo (Jokowi), has demonstrated zero tolerance against illegal fishing activities in its seas.

From 2015 until early April 2016, the government had blown up at least 174 fishing boats, mostly foreign fishing vessels, for poaching in Indonesian waters.

During a visit to the International Maritime Organization in London, on April 19, President Jokowi had reiterated Indonesias firm stance against illegal fishing as it violated the countrys sovereignty and harmed the marine environment of the Indonesian waters.

Minister Susi had earlier disclosed that the operations against illegal fishing in Indonesia had helped improve the countrys economy by boosting its fishery sector.

"The GDP contribution of the fishery sector right now has reached 8.96 percent, far above the national GDP growth. This was the result of the tough action taken against illegal fishing," she stated at a meeting with fishermen in Jembrana, Bali, in early June.

The minister pointed out that following the presidential regulation and the ongoing action against illegal fishing, she was optimistic that the fishery sector would continue to grow and benefit Indonesias fishermen.
(T.F001/INE/KR-BSR/O001)

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