Corruption eradication initiate to improve fisheries sector: Minister

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti has expressed support to the corruption eradication initiative, saying that corruption has, so far, been the reason for the low income generated by the sector.

"We have allowed corruption and collusion to thrive, which has resulted in rampant illegal fishing in Indonesian waters," she noted at her office here on Friday.

She pointed out that corruption and collusion have created an unfair business climate, thereby making Indonesia, which has abundant fisheries resources, a mere market for the ASEAN countries.

The minister cautioned that if the situation continued unabated, it can have a negative impact on the competitiveness of Indonesian fisheries.

"Our country will only become a market for the worlds economic products, and we will not become a key player," she affirmed.

In view of that, she emphasized that greater openness and transparency is necessary to eradicate corruption and collusion.

In a meeting with businessmen from the fisheries sector here, earlier that day, she expressed shock on finding out that the countrys fish production was low despite the fact that the country has the worlds second-longest coastline and two-thirds of its territorial area is covered with water.

Minister Susi Pudjiastuti was optimistic that the neighboring countries would buy fish directly from the ports in Indonesia and not through transshipment at sea.

"We want them to buy directly from us," he stated here on Monday.

Illegal fishing activities have been rampant in Indonesia, so far, and fishing vessels have not auctioned their catch at the ports.

Following the imposition of a moratorium on transshipment, Susi claimed to have heard about the depleting supply of fish to several neighboring countries, thereby causing an increase in the prices.

"I did not know how much is the decline, but I have heard that the fish prices in neighboring countries have increased," she added.(*)

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