“Four Vietnamese-flagged boats and two Malaysian-flagged boats were arrested by two fisheries supervision boats at the Indonesian Exclusive Economic Zone in the North (ZEEI) Natuna Sea and ZEEI Malacca strait on Tuesday, April 9,” stated the Acting Director General of Supervision of Marine and Fisheries resources at the Ministry of Maritime and Fisheries, Agus Suherman, at a press conference here on Wednesday.
The four foreign boats—BV 4939 TS, BV 5156 TS, BV 93817 TS, and BV 93816 TS— were captured at ZEEI Natuna between 8 AM and 9 AM local time by supervision boat Hiu Macan 01, which was led by Captain Samson.
He added that the boats did not have any permit from the Indonesian government and used trawl nets, which are prohibited by the Indonesian government.
“Twenty four Vietnamese crew members were arrested,” he said.
The boats were then escorted to the Supervision of Marine and Fisheries resources in Pontianak, West Kalimantan, for legal proceedings.
Meanwhile, two fishing boats from Malaysia, KM. PKFA 8888 (61.70 GT) and PKF 7878 (67.63 GT), were also captured by supervision boat Hiu Macan 02, led by Captain Ilman Rustam, at the ZEEI Malacca Straits at around 3 PM local time.
Nine Burmese crew members were escorted to the Supervision of Marine and Fisheries resources in Batam, Riau Islands.
The two foreign fishing boats violated Indonesian Law number 31 of the year 2004 regarding fisheries as amended to Law number 45 of the year 2009 with the threat of maximum six years imprisonment and a maximum fine of Rp20 billion.
These latest arrests are added to the list of illegal fishing boats that had been captured previously by the Ministry’s Supervision of Marine and Fisheries resources boats. From January until April 9, 2019, the ministry had captured 38 illegal fishing boats, including 28 foreign fishing boats and 10 local fishing boats.
“The total number of foreign illegal boats captured include 15 Vietnamese boats and 13 Malaysian boats,” remarked Suherman.
The ministry stated that the focus on eradicating illegal fishing in Indonesia has increased the potential of fisheries resources in the Indonesian oceans.
“In an effort to manifest sovereignty, the ministry continues to focus on eradicating Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing,” said Head of Marine and Fisheries Research and Human Resources Agency at the ministry Sjarief Widjaja.
He concluded that through the eradication of IUU Fishing, fish stocks had increased significantly.
Indonesia’s potential fish resources (Maximum Sustainable Yield/ MSY) had also increased drastically to 12.5 million tons in 2016, whereas in 2013, the number was only 7.31 million tons.