The Jakarta Post
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said the government was ready to sink 30 foreign-flagged vessels caught fishing illegally in Indonesian waters.
The schedule for the sinking of the vessels is being arranged by relevant authorities, she said.
“Indonesia will not compromise with and will be very tough in taking action against and in arresting foreign vessels caught fishing illegally in Indonesian waters. The violation committed by the 30 vessels is illegal fishing,” Susi told journalists on the sidelines of a two-day visit to Labuan Bajo, West Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara, on Monday.
She was speaking from the deck of an Indonesian Maritime Surveillance Agency vessel in Labuan Bajo waters on Monday evening.
Susi explained that in the latest incident, the Indonesian Navy’s Western Fleet arrested three Vietnamese-flagged vessels for fishing illegally in Indonesian territory.
The minister further explained that sinking foreign vessels caught poaching was also practiced by other countries. Recently, the Argentina government sank a foreign vessel after it was caught fishing illegally in the country’s waters, she said.
“So my policy and firm action [to combat illegal fishing] are recognized by the international community. I’m taking such a policy in line with the directive of the President of the Republic of Indonesia, who has instructed me to take care of Indonesia’s fisheries and maritime affairs for the sake of the prosperity of fishermen and all Indonesian people,” said Susi.
“I’m working and carrying out this policy not for my interests but for the sustainability of Indonesian fisheries and maritime affairs and for the sake of a more prosperous life for fishermen across Indonesia,” she went on.
Susi further explained that Indonesia had abundant maritime resources that had long been stolen by irresponsible parties from outside the country. Currently, she said, Indonesian authorities were striving to clean up the country’s waters from undersea nets that poachers had used to catch fish and lobsters with roe.
She said the ministry had discovered an excess of fishing for fish and lobsters with roe by foreign poachers in Indonesian waters and this had inflicted great losses on both the country and Indonesian fishermen.
“I’m really firm about taking tough action against any vessels caught fishing illegally. I will sink all such vessels,” she went on.
Friendly visit – Fishermen welcome Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti (center) during her visit to the Komodo National Park in Loh Liang, Komodo Island, West Manggarai, East Nusa Tenggara, on Monday. (thejakartapost.com/Markus Makur)
Earlier, Susi expressed pleasure over the signing of a presidential regulation (Perpres) on illegal fishing by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.
“I want to tell you the good news that President Jokowi has signed a Perpres, which bans foreign vessels from fishing in Indonesian waters,” she said during a dialogue with fishermen at the Labuan Bajo fish landing facility in West Manggarai on Monday.
During the dialogue, Asma, a local fish trader, said West Manggarai needed boats to pick up catches from fishermen. The regency’s fishermen also needed ice machines so they could keep their catches fresh.
“We often send fish to Java Island. But in many cases, by the time the vessels arrive in Java half of the fish have started to decay because shipping from West Manggarai to Java Island takes quite a long time. These are the requests of West Manggarai fishermen. Hopefully, a solution will be found by the Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Ministry,” she said.
Responding to the request, Susi said the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry was ready to provide ice makers to fishermen in West Manggarai. The ice machines must be managed by fishermen cooperatives, she added.
“I will give one month to my directors general to handle it and send ice makers for fishermen in West Manggarai,” said the minister. (ebf)