Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Indonesian government has uncovered an illegal fishing network that had been operating in the country for the past years, following the confiscation of fishing bombs and unreported imported seeds, an official said here on Monday.

The organized crime network was uncovered as a result of the operations of Maritime and Fishery Ministry, Finance Ministry, Transportation Ministry, the airport operators, Angkasa Pura (AP) I and II, and the Crime and Investigation Unit of Indonesian Police.

"The Indonesian government has foiled the distribution of bombs used for the illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing," the ministrys head of quarantine, quality control, and fish safety (BKIPM), Rina, stated in Jakarta on Monday.

Apart from the bombs, the police and quarantine office have also traced the distribution of key materials, such as ammonium nitrate, potassium nitrate, and detonators, to detect some destructive fishing activities.

Following the confiscation, the quarantine office further found some "toxic" dory fish fillet in some shops in Jakarta.

Jakarta BKIPM chairman, Riza Priyatna, noted that the office, along with the Finance Ministrys Custom Office, has seized 22,198 kilograms of illegal frozen fish, imported overseas on Aug 16.

The products were initially planned to be distributed from Telaga Punggur port in Batam, Riau islands province, to Tembilahan port, Riau province.

According to the probe, the illegal fish imports would cause Rp7 billion of potential income loss to the state.

Besides the fish export, the authority has also foiled 1.87 million lobster seeds exports, worth Rp281,41 billion, at Soekarno Hatta International Airport in Jakarta, Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali, and Lombok International Airport in West Nusa Tenggara province.

Following the operation, some 45 suspects were detained, and most of them have been convicted guilty after trials in the districts of Tangerang, Central Lombok, Denpasar, Pangkal Pinang, Lampung, Sleman, Kendari, Banten, Bekasi, and Bogor.

Indonesian government, moreover, also has foiled the smuggling attempt of about 57 coral reefs, worth Rp35.38 billion.

According to the joint operation of Kediri, East Java, and Denpasar Police, along with the quarantine offices, the coral reef confiscation has also pointed out to the organized crime network operating in the country. (*)

Editor: Heru Purwanto
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