Illegal fishing in Indonesian territorial waters has risen to an extreme level, and those responsible have changed strategy from using a few big ships to a lot of small boats, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti has said.
According some reports, Susi said, illegal foreign vessels had begun fishing in the inner-ring of Indonesian waters, and were not only in the areas bordering international waters.
"The most severe illegal fishing violations are committed by ships owned by people in the Philippines. They have intruded on North Sulawesi waters where our local fishermen are unable to fish any longer due to a lack of fuel," she said in a press conference at her office on Monday, Dec 7.
Illegal fishing had reportedly increased in those parts of Indonesia that were experiencing serious problems with fuel supply, such as Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT), Sulawesi and Bitung, she explained.
Susi said that foreign fishermen had begun using smaller vessels in response to a recently issued regulation that prohibits large vessels from fishing in Indonesian waters.
'Now, most of them use smaller boats, totaling around 30 vessels, which come into our waters to trawl for fish while the tramper vessel [big cargo ship] is waiting on the territorial borderline [to collect the fishes],' Susi explained.
Yesterday, the East Armada Command caught a fishing ship in Toli-Toli waters. It was way down in the heart of Indonesian territorial waters.'They're getting bolder and breaching deeper into the southern part of Indonesian waters," she said.
Allowing them to fish in tuna-rich waters such as Kendari, Tomini, and South Sulawesi would hinder Indonesian fishermen from taking large hauls of tuna, Susi argued. (ags)(+)