The Jakarta Post
Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti has said goodbye to fishermen with her term set to come to an end in October and urged people to prevent foreign fishing vessels from entering Indonesian waters.
She made her statement while talking to dozens of fishermen and other maritime stakeholders in Tarempa Island, Anambas, Riau Islands, on Wednesday.
“There are no longer foreign fishing vessels [operating in your waters]. Don’t let them come back,” said Susi, who has been known for the tough action she has taken against foreign vessels. During her five-year term, more than 300 foreign vessels were sunk for operating illegally in Indonesian waters.
As the minister made her farewell remarks, dozens of fishermen shouted: “Go on, go on, go on ....”
“Is it you who chooses who is a minister?” Susi responded jokingly to the crowd as quoted by tempo.co.
During the meeting, Susi also told the fishermen not to practice illegal fishing methods that could damage the environment and the sea’s biodiversity, such as using poison or bombs.
She also stressed the importance of tourism development for improving the welfare of fishing communities. “If you want the tourism sector to grow, you have to protect your seas. Don’t let people use poison and bombs to catch fish,” she added.
Susi arrived at Antang Port in Tarempa at 10:35 a.m. local time on Wednesday after flying to Jemaja Island. While traveling by sea from Jemaja Island to Matak Island, her vessel was escorted by 20 fishing boats.
She said the waters around Tarempa were the first place her ministry had seized and sank foreign fishing vessels under her orders.
As one of the country’s outermost islands, Tarempa has important strategic value. “Security and improved welfare are important for Indonesia,” she added. (bbn)