Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Fishery observer Abdul Halim said a number of coastal areas recorded a sharp increase in fish production following the government tough measure sinking foreign fishing boats illegally operating in Indonesian waters.

Fish production rose sharply based on data as announced by the Marine and Fishery Ministry, which said fish stock at 11 Fishery Management Area rose from 9 million tons previously to 12.4 million tons at present, Abdul Halim told Antara news agency here on Wednesday.

In January this year the government exploded and sank 125 foreign fishing boats in the 11 fishing grounds after being found guilty of illegally operating in Indonesian waters.

Abdul Halim said optimization is necessary in the utilization of the resource to revitalize smallholder fisheries for the welfare of the people especially fishermen.

Marine and Fishery Minister Susi Pudjiastuti has been quoted as saying that altogether the government had exploded and sent to the sea bottom 488 fishing boats for illegally operating in Indonesian waters since 2014

Susi said the sinking was executed after the court declared the ships guilty of illegally operating in Indonesian waters.

The controversial policy has succeeded in deterring although not entirely stopping illegal fishing in the country`s waters.

A lawmaker Viva Yoga said on Tuesday that fish had been almost depleted in a number areas earlier known to be fertile fishing grounds such as the sea north of Java, the Malacca strait and the Sulawesi strait.

"Over fishing has becomes a problem that has to be seriously addressed and dealt with," Viva said.

The Marine and Fishery Ministry said it has continued to keep coordination with other related agencies as it is impossible for the Ministry to effectively eradicate illegal fishing alone in the vast archipelago.

Cooperation between government agencies is the key to success in managing the country`s fishery resources and in eradicating illegal fishing, Susi said.

Earlier the Indonesian Association of Marine Scholars (Iskindo) said the government should not relax measure against illegal fishing.

"Iskindo urges the government to be consistent in its policy of eradicating and preventing illegal fishing, unregulated fishing and unreported fishing to protect the sustainability of the country`s fishery resources," chairman of the association Moh Abdi Suhufan said.

Reporting by Muhammad Razi Rahman
Editing by A Saragih

Reporter: Antara
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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