Jakarta, March 11 (ANTARA) - Indonesia and Australia have agreed to step up cooperation in patrolling to reduce illegal fishing in the two countries waters.

"Illegal fishing poses a serious threat to the preservation of marine resources so such a cooperation is believed to reduce the number of unlawful activities in the two countries," minister of fisheries and marine resources Fadel Muhammad said at his office after a meeting with his Australian counterpart Joe Ludwig on Wednesday.

In dealing with illegal fishermen of the two countries, Australia has proposed that a cooperation document be made between Indonesian representative in Australia and the country's related institution for the fishermen's legal process in the country.

The document is relevant to "Consular Notification and Assistance" which was signed by Indonesia and Australia in 2010, but Fadel requested that some 236 Indonesian fishermen detained in Australia be repatriated immediately.

Indonesian Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry and Australian Home Affairs Ministry also signed a Letter of Intent on July 17, 2009 in a bid to formalize a coordinated patrol cooperation along the two countries border.

The implementation of the coordinated patrol cooperation was started in 2008 and it has yielded a positive result of being able to significantly reduce the number of Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing.

In regard to a research, the two countries have agreed to further a cooperation which is focused on "fishing stocks and their interaction with fisheries aggregation devices and purse-seiners on the sustainability of tuna stocks in Indian Ocean".

It is also intended to increase the capacity building of the institution through a joint research in the field of stock assessment and case study on the management of sardine fish, lobsters, and red snapper in Indonesia, as well as bioeconomic modeling and risk management.

While in an effort to protect marine environment and biodiversity conservation, the two countries have agreed to form a new sub-working group by identifying priority issues in order to avoid overlapping issue which has been existed already in the Working Group on Marine Affairs and Fisheries (WGMAF).

Australia has submitted a discussion about species conservation including herbivorous fish or mainly reef-grazing fish which are in the list of CITIES.

While in the group, Indonesia is cooperating in marine environmental cases including marine debris, oil spill, and marine pollution.

Besides those cooperations, the two countries have also implemented a number of joint cooperations among others joint research with Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Organization (CSIRO) and Australian Center for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), coordinated patrol of Indonesia-Australia Surveillance Forum (IASF), Public Information Campaign, trainings and program development at the marine and fisheries resources ministry with AUSAID.

Even Australia gives facility assistance to Indonesia to arrange Coordination mechanism and financial resources so that the Regional Secretariat CTI-CFF can run well.

Meanwhile, Indonesia is of the opinion that Australia is a potential market of fisheries and marine products. Trade balance in 2008-2010 continued to increase.

Export of fisheries product from Indonesia to Australia in 2009 was recorded at US$39,311 million or rose from US$29,743 million in the previous year.

While the fisheries export of shrimp, tuna fish, pearl, and seaweed from Indonesia to Australia up to November 2010 reached US$31,33 million.

For further information, please contact Dr. Ir. Yulistyo Mudho, M.Sc, Head of Data, Statistical and Information Center of the Marine and Fisheries Ministry (Mobile: 0811836967)

Reporter: Adityawarman
Editor: PR Wire
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