Kupang, E Nusa Tenggara (ANTARA) - East Nusa Tenggara police investigators have named three fishermen as suspects in a blast fishing case in the Tanjung Oepao waters of Rote Ndao district, a police officer said.

The fishermen were arrested while carrying out blast fishing on Tuesday (January 23, 2024).

The suspects were identified by their initials as EHT, YAD, and SYD, director of the East Nusa Tenggara Police's Air and Sea Police Corps (Polairud), Senior Commissioner Irwan Deffi Nasution, informed.

Speaking to ANTARA here on Wednesday evening, he said that the three fishermen have been charged with violating Article 1 (1) of Indonesia's Emergency Law No.12/1951 on Illegal Firearms Possession and Articles 53 and 55 (1) of the Criminal Code.

If the district court finds them guilty of illegally using explosive materials for fishing, they may face 20 years' imprisonment or the death penalty, he added.

The suspects were caught conducting blast fishing in the Tanjung Oepao waters on Tuesday, and were found carrying fertilizer that may have been meant for making illegal fishing bombs, Nasution said.

From the fishermen, the Polairud personnel seized a jerry can containing the fertilizer and their fishing boat, he added.

Related news: Navy arrests fisherman over fish bombing charges in East Flores

Based on ANTARA's observation, the arrest of EHT, YAD, and SYD has extended the list of blast fishing cases in East Nusa Tenggara.

On April 11, 2021, for instance, five local fishermen were caught by the Environment and Forestry Ministry's law enforcement personnel for conducting blast fishing in the waters of the Komodo National Park's conservation area.

The authorities charged the fishermen with violating Indonesia’s environmental protection laws, under which they face a 10-year prison term and a fine of Rp10 billion.

An archipelagic country, Indonesia is blessed with vast and deep coral reefs. However, they are facing increased threats.

A study about Economic Analysis of Indonesian Coral Reefs conducted by Herman Cesar in 1996 revealed that the threats are mostly posed by humans conducting activities, such as blast fishing, poison fishing, and overfishing, as well as tourism development.

Related news: E Nusa Tenggara MP condemns blast fishing in Komodo National Park area

Translator: Kornelis K, Rahmad Nasution
Editor: Yuni Arisandy Sinaga
Copyright © ANTARA 2024