Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Environmental Officer of the United States Embassy in Jakarta, Nicholas Austin, said that illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing practices (IUU Fishing) is a global challenge that requires international cooperation and collaboration.

“The United States, as a partner of Indonesia, stands shoulder to shoulder in this fight," Austin said at the discussion on International Day to Combat Illegal Fishing (IUU Fishing), which took place in Jakarta on Thursday.

He added that Indonesia, with its vast coastlines and rich marine biodiversity, is one of the world's most important fishing nations.

"Over 50 percent of the protein consumption of Indonesians come from seafood, and the Indonesia seafood industry is estimated to be worth over 27 billion dollars a year," he said.

However, Austin said, IUU Fishing poses a grave threat, depletes fishing stocks, disrupts ecosystems, deprives the legal fishing rights of fishermen and damage the economic prosperity of coastal communities.

According to Austin, the United States has been actively supporting Indonesia's efforts to tackle IUU fishing through various initiatives.

First, through cooperation to increase maritime domain awareness and strengthen Indonesia's ability to monitor and patrol maritime boundaries. That includes providing training, equipment and technological assistance to improve surveillance capabilities.

"So, by that collaboration, it can ensure Indonesian authorities can better detect, deter and intercept illegal fishing vessels," he said.

Second, the United States is extending support through USAID to Indonesia to strengthen the sustainable management of its marine resources. The support encompasses programs focused on capacity building, scientific research and fisheries management.

"By empowering local communities, and increasing sustainable practices and promoting responsible fishing, we can ensure the long-term viability of Indonesia," Austin stated.

He further explained that United States is engaged in diplomatic efforts to combat IUU Fishing on a global scale.

"We have actively participated in international forums, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United Nations, to promote awareness, cooperation, and the exchanging of best practices. Together with Indonesia, we've advocated for stronger regional collaboration, stricter regulations and the implementation of effective monitoring systems."

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Translator: Asri Mayang Sari
Editor: Azis Kurmala
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