JAKARTA: Overfishing remains the biggest threat to the ocean environment in the Natuna Islands, a scientist says.
The head of the Oceanographic Research Center at the Indonesian
Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Suharsono, said Tuesday that fish and
other marine species in Natuna faced serious threats from foreign
“Local fishermen in Natuna say unauthorized fishing by foreign trawlers
have significantly depleted their stocks,” he said at a press conference
on the sidelines of a two-day workshop titled “Natuna Sea and South
Kalimantan Waters Expedition”.
He said well-equipped foreign trawlers, including from China, Malaysia,
Thailand and Vietnam, took advantage of poor maritime surveillance in
the area, illegally catching major commercially valuable fish there.
The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry said 40 foreign trawlers and
157 fishermen from Vietnam were arrested in 2010 for illegally fishing
Suharsono said authorities should take more steps to prevent foreign trawlers from entering the areas.
“Overfishing not only negatively affects the ecosystem in Natuna due to
the highly non-selective fishing methods used, but also creates huge
financial losses for local fishermen,” he said.
The ministry said overfishing in Natuna caused losses the state of Rp 30 trillion (US$3.33 billion) each year. — JP