Jakarta (ANTARA News) -- The Indonesian government has set up a fish theft eradication task force to investigate violators of fishing rules, Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti said.

"The task force has been established in accordance with a decision made by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries," she stated here on Monday.

The force will be in charge of improving licensing procedures, following a moratorium on the issuance of permits to large fishing ships, among others, she noted.

Pudjiastuti added that the task force will also verify data on the number fishing vessels and calculate losses inflicted to the state by fish theft.

The squad will be led by the Deputy of the Presidential Working Unit for the Supervision and Management of Development (UKP4), Mas Achmad Santosa, she pointed out.

The minister further noted that in performing his duties, the chief will be assisted by Inspector General of the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Andha Fauzi Miraza, and former chief of the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK), Yunus Hussein.

The team will include members from the ministry, as well as the finance and transportation ministries, the National Police Criminal Investigation Directorate (Bareskrim), UKP4, and PPATK.

Moreover, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) remarked that Indonesia suffers a potential loss of Rp30 trillion a year because of illegal fishing. However, Pudjiastuti recently stated that the losses inflicted were much larger.

Naval Chief of Staff Admiral Marsetio assured that the navy is determined to eradicate illegal fishing from the waters of the country.

Last Friday, the navy sank three of the 155 foreign fishing vessels that were impounded.

The three Vietnamese boats, which were proven to have illegally poached fish in Indonesian waters, were made to explode by the Indonesian Navy in the waters of Anambas Island, Riau Islands.

Reported by Muhammad Razi Rahman

Editor: Jafar M Sidik
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