Indonesia sinks 30 vessels charged with illegal fishing

Indonesia sinks 30 boats for illegal fishing bringing total number of vessels destroyed under policy to 151

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Four of eight confiscated Vietnamese fishing boats are destroyed in Mempawah Regency, West Kalimantan, Indonesia on February 22, 2016.

Indonesia sank 30 vessels charged with illegal fishing on its waters on Monday, bringing the total number of boats destroyed under the policy to 151.

Maritime and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said the policy had been carried out in five different locations this year underlining that the implementation is aimed at deterring unauthorised vessels from exploiting the country’s resources.

"So this is not my personal view,” Pudjiastuti said at a press conference in Jakarta.

“We want to say to other nations that Indonesia does not want its sea pillaged,” she added.

Eleven of 30 vessels were from Vietnam, eight from Malaysia, seven from the Philippines and four from Indonesia.

Pudjiastuti, who also serves as commander of the Task Force on Illegal Fishing, said that illegal fishing activities on Indonesian waters had drastically decreased since the country started implementing the policy in October 2014.

"Combating illegal fishing was realistic and should [be conducted]. Thanks to God, the deterrent effect has already been happening," she said.

Foreign fishing boats seized for illegal fishing are blown up near Bitung, North Sulawesi, Indonesia on February 22, 2016. (Reuters)

Pudjiastuti underlined that the sinking of boats, conducted with low-power bombs that keep the wrecks intact, do not harm the environment and comply with standard operating procedure.

"When detonated, [the boat] is empty, no there’s oil in it. It will be a new house for fish," she said.

Indonesia has sunk 151 ships, 50 from Vietnam, 43 from the Philippines, 21 from Thailand, 20 from Malaysia, two from Papua New Guinea, one from China and 14 from Indonesia since October 2014.

The country has declared war on illegal fishing, implementing a policy of sinking ships guilty of the practice, which reportedly costs Indonesia billions in losses each year.

TRTWorld and agencies