President vows to end illegal fishing in Indonesian waters

"We are serious about combating illegal fishing," the president said.
Merak, Banten (ANTARA News) - President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo has reiterated his governments stance to end fish theft carried out by foreign vessels in Indonesian waters.

"We are serious about combating illegal fishing," the president informed newsmen on board the KMP Portlink III, which was crossing the Sunda Strait en route from Merak, Banten, to Bakauheni in Lampung on Tuesday.

President Jokowi emphatically stated that there should no longer be illegal fishing activities that deplete the marine resources and fisheries in Indonesia.

The head of state also revealed that he has held a cabinet meeting with the coordinating minister for political, legal and security affairs; the law and human rights minister; and the Navy chief of staff; among others, to discuss ways to combat illegal fishing activities.

As of November 2014, the Ministry of Maritime and Fisheries has detained 35 fishing boats, caught committing illegal fishing in Indonesian waters.

"The efforts to uphold the laws and regulations in the field of marine and fisheries continue to be undertaken through a surveillance operation of marine resources and fisheries," Maritime and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti recently noted in Jakarta.

According to her, the surveillance operation was important due to the presence of illegal fishing vessels that failed to comply with the existing regulations in Indonesia and posed a threat to the sustainable management of marine resources and fisheries in the country.

She remarked that the Maritime and Fisheries Ministry has taken decisive steps against Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, a global problem that threatens ocean ecosystems and sustainable fisheries.

"Efforts to eradicate illegal fishing activities are also being made through surveillance operations and cooperation with various parties who have the authority to enforce the law at sea," she affirmed.

The minister stated that the Maritime and Fisheries Ministry has set itself a target in the next six months to make the Natuna waters in Riau Islands free of illegal fishing activities carried out by foreign vessels.

She noted that based on preliminary data, the 35 vessels detained by the ministry were from Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines, among other things.

To continue monitoring the activities of illegal fishing vessels from foreign countries, she said the Maritime and Fisheries Ministry is deploying radar satellite imagery technology and vessel monitoring system (VMS), a satellite-based monitoring system that provides data at regular intervals to the fisheries authorities regarding the location, course, and speed of a vessel. (*)