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Jakarta Post

Ministry to take legal action against poachers

  • Tama Salim

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Sat, July 4, 2015   /  12:32 pm

The government has stepped up its campaign against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, as the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry is expected to take legal action against perpetrators of poaching-related activities.

Mas Achmad Santosa, the head of the IUU fishing prevention task force, said any state losses caused by illegal fishing, as well as any additional negative implications on the fishing community, were being calculated by economist Faisal Basri, who recently joined the team at the request of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti.

'€œFrom these calculations, we can not rule out the possibility that the Indonesian government, represented by the ministry through the Attorney General'€™s Office [AGO], will sue any liable parties [found guilty of] causing state losses,'€ Mas Achmad told The Jakarta Post on Friday.

The plan to go forward with legal action against perpetrators of poaching is yet another step to eradicate the problems and further promote President Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo'€™s vision of Indonesia as a maritime power.

The task force that Achmad leads is in the midst of conducting the ministry'€™s analysis and evaluation initiative (Annev) in verifying the permits of 1,132 foreign-built fishing vessels owned by 187 companies and operating in Indonesian waters.

As of Friday, at least 12 fisheries companies had officially had their business permits revoked at the recommendation of Susi and the task force, Achmad said. In addition, at least 152 fishing and loading permits of vessels belonging to 30 companies with large fleets have also been canceled.

'€œThe names of a dozen or more companies with multiple infringements will be disclosed in the coming months,'€ he said.

Mas Achmad, who is a former antigraft professional, said any company found guilty of infringements would be duly processed under the criminal law, whether it be categorized as a general crime, fisheries crime, special economic crime or graft.

The ministry could also choose to pursue the revocation or freezing of licenses as a legal avenue, he added.

Earlier in the week, Susi said she wanted due diligence on the thousands of foreign-built vessels to be conducted more seriously in order to prevent any IUU fishing practices from reemerging.

According to her, the rise in illegal fishing practices in the country have their root in the unregulated transfer of ownership and vessel deregistration that has resulted in incidents of double-flagged ships.

She said this illicit practice had been proven time and time again in the Annev results the task force carried out since the ministry issued a temporary license ban on large, foreign-built vessels in November.

'€œAt the heart of it, we'€™ll conduct the due diligence with utmost [seriousness],'€ Susi told reporters on Wednesday, adding that the process would ensure that all foreign-built vessels operating in Indonesian waters played by the country'€™s rules and regulations.

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