"It is nothing but law enforcement."
Jakarta (ANTARA News) - No country deters the Indonesian government from enforcing laws to eradicate illegal fishing in its own waters, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Arrmanatha Nasir, said.

"All countries have supported Indonesia in its enforcement of laws to eradicate illegal fishing activities (in its waters)," Nasir stated during a press briefing at the MOFA office here on Wednesday.

He made the statement with regard to the Bangkok Posts editorial, which opines that Indonesia was wrong to use explosives to sink foreign fishing boats entering and fishing in its waters.

"We are aware of that column and our representative in Bangkok has responded to it," Nasir confirmed.

The MOFA spokesperson further noted that the Indonesian government has communicated and explained the reason behind the firm actions they took to tackle illegal fishing.

Nasir claimed that the communication went well and that the Indonesian counterparts could understand that the steps taken by the government was only aimed at enforcing laws in their own territory.

"When they asked about it, we gave them explanation. We then came out with the same perspective that this was merely a law enforcement measure, and they support our efforts to eradicate illegal fishing," he added.

Moreover, Nasir emphasized that the government policy to explode and sink foreign boats poaching in Indonesian waters was not intended to affect the stability in the Southeast Asian region.

"It is nothing but law enforcement," he reiterated.

The Indonesian government is highly committed to maintaining stability and peace in the Southeast Asian region to support a strong and prosperous ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

According to 2014 data from the Maritime and Fisheries Ministry, Indonesia bore losses amounting to as much as US$4 billion every year due to illegal fishing practices.

Furthermore, Nasir added that the Indonesian government always emphasizes on open communication among neighboring countries with regard to discussions on the prevention of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

In early December 2014, the Indonesian Navy sank three illegal foreign vessels, followed by 155 other foreign fishing boats, including two Thai ones, which were impounded.

Also, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) remarked that Indonesia suffers potential losses worth Rp30 trillion annually due to illegal fishing.


Reporter: Azi Fitriyanti
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
Copyright © ANTARA 2015