Nusa Dua, Bali (ANTARA News) - Indonesia has called for stronger regional cooperation to combat illegal, unregistered and undocumented (IUU) fishing now that illegal fishing vessels have began to seek licences from neighboring countries.

"Indonesia learns that if we do not cooperate with neighboring countries, then our national efforts will backfire because the IUU fishing vessels began to seek licenses from our neighbors," Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti said in her remarks at the Global Leadership Panel of the fifth Our Ocean Conference (OOC) 2018 in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Tuesday.

The minister said efforts to eliminate IUU fishing requires close cooperation between countries, especially regional cooperation.

"We also need to start imposing bans on transshipments at sea that has been used to facilitate IUU fishing and other crimes," she said

The Port State Measure Agreement (PSMA) will not work if the vessels are transshipping their illegal catches at sea, she said.

"We have to realize that the ocean does not need us. It is us who needs the ocean. Our ocean has the ability to restore itself if we allow it," she said.

This means that all states have to stop exploiting the ocean, give space for the ocean to breathe and breed, and acknowledge that the ocean has rights to be protected, she said.

Therefore, she called for states to acknowledge ocean rights so that states have the obligation to protect the ocean.

Indonesia has made efforts to protect the ocean by combating IUU Fishing. Through tough enforcement, Indonesia has sunk 488 illegal fishing vessels, she said.

The country has also imposed a one-year moratorium against ex-foreign fishing vessels to stop the exploitation of its fisheries resources, she said.

"We prohibit the use of trawls that have been destroying our waters. We also put tough enforcement against destructive fishing practices," she said.

Realizing that illegal fishing is often connected to series of other crimes and involves multinational actors, she said Indonesia continued to campaign the acknowledgement of transnational organized crime in the fisheries industry in international forums, including Our Ocean Conference, Fisheries Crime Symposium, and UN Ocean Conference.

Reporting by Suharto
Editing by Andi Abdussalam

Reporter: Antara
Editor: Yosep Hariyadi
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