Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesias Maritime Affairs and Fishery Minister Susi Pudjiastuti has won the Peter Benchley Ocean Awards 2017 for Excellence in National Stewardship for her efforts in managing the countrys marine sector.

Susi has aggressively protected the countrys economic and environmental interests by targeting the multi-billion dollar pirate fishing operations of foreign fleets, Marine Affairs Ministry said in a statement here on Tuesday.

Susis courage to blow up and sink more than 200 illegal fishing boats, which were caught poaching, has deterred organized crime efforts that have invaded and resulted in overfishing in Indonesias biologically rich waters for years.

She has been instrumental in the freeing of slave crews held on many of these foreign vessels and the freeing of illegally trapped whale sharks, it said.

Her work has proved vital to protecting Indonesias unique and world-famous marine ecosystem, while providing important economic benefits and sustaining the livelihoods of tens of thousands of domestic fishermen, their families, and communities.

The Peter Benchley Ocean Awards 2017 would be awarded on May 11 during the commemoration of its 10th anniversary held at the Smithsonians National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC.

A seminar on sea leadership would also be held on the occasion, which would focus on global efforts to end illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing (IUUF).

IUUF crackdown is important to prevent the extinction of marine life as well as its habitat, and to fight against human trafficking and drugs smuggling.

Previously, the minister reiterated that the government has seriously handled all crimes committed at sea, including illegal fishing.

Indonesia has taken firm legal measures against human rights abuse in the fisheries sector, such as the Benjina case in Maluku in 2015.

With its mission to guard the Indonesian waters, the ministry has begun evaluating ex-foreign vessels, which had led to the imposition of a one-year moratorium on all licensed fishing vessels built outside Indonesia during the period between November 2014 and October 2015 and the ban on transshipment.

(Reported by Muhammad Razi Rahman/Uu.S022/INE/KR-BSR/A014)

Editor: Priyambodo RH
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