Indonesia urges international community to recognize scale of illegal fishing

Tama Salim, The Jakarta Post 17 Nov 15;

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti has called on the international community to recognize the practice of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing as a form of transnational organized crime (TOC).

Susi said the recognition would ensure governments had better access to the tools needed to implement cooperation initiatives leading to the eventual eradication of IUU fishing.

According to the minister, it is high time the world acknowledged that IUU fishing practices are often used as a vehicle for other extraordinary crimes.

She said the IUU fishing prevention task force had discovered this after conducting an 11-month compliance audit on large foreign-built fishing vessels registered in the country.

“During the Anev [analysis and evaluation audit] we found out that fisheries crime isn’t only about stealing fish, but about many other crimes that use IUU fishing as a vehicle,” Susi said during her keynote speech at the Second International Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Conference in Singapore, on Monday.

She revealed that 80 percent of the large-scale drug rings that had been broken in the country involved the use of fishing vessels and that large cargo ships were often used for human trafficking and exporting endangered species.

“IUU fishing distorts good governance and jeopardizes economic growth,” she claimed.

Since the beginning of her tenure as minister, Susi has taken drastic measures to reform Indonesia’s fisheries sector. She has introduced a moratorium on all foreign-built fishing vessels, enabling the ministry to review 1,132 fishing permits and ascertain whether they are subject to misuse.

The audit found that all 1,132 fishing vessels had in some way violated the applicable laws and regulations, with the most common violation being license duplication.

As a result, the ministry has revoked 291 permits, suspended 61 and issued notices for another 95 licenses.

Susi spoke at Monday’s conference, hosted by Interpol and the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP), to get like-minded countries to endorse her cause in recognizing IUU fishing as a TOC and raise awareness about the link between fisheries crime and other related crimes.

She pledged to promote the initiative at other international and regional forums, including ASEAN and the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA).

On the sidelines of the conference, Susi secured the support of South Africa in a bilateral meeting with South African Environmental Affairs Minister Bomo Edna Molewa, adding that she would continue to urge other states to join the cause.

As the new chair of the IORA, Indonesia has the opportunity to further its ambitious maritime axis plan by becoming the leading proponent of maritime safety and security.

Separately, Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) lawmaker Ono Surono from House of Representatives Commission IV overseeing forestry and fisheries supported Susi’s bid to have the international community recognize IUU fishing as a transnational crime.

Ono urged Susi to speak with countries whose fishing vessels and seamen were guilty of IUU fishing practices, such as China, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.

“If possible, an anti-IUU fishing task force should be formed comprising Indonesia and states that share the country’s borders,” he told the The Jakarta Post.

Ministry claims success in fight against fish poaching
Antara 18 Nov 15;

Jakarta (ANTARA News) - The Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries claimed that its focused efforts on curbing illegal fishing practices have significantly reduced fish poaching.

"Over the past year, the fight against illegal, unreported, unregulated (IUU) fishing has been a major success," Nilanto Perbowo, the director general for competitive edge reinforcement of marine and fisheries products, stated at a press conference here on Wednesday.

He pointed out that the biggest impact of the fight against IUU fishing was the success achieved by the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries in eliminating fish theft by foreign vessels, which often operated in the Indonesian waters.

The disappearance of foreign fishing vessels could benefit traditional fishermen in various regions. They can easily fish now than in the past. At the same time, the government, through the marine affairs and fisheries ministry, could ensure the availability of the nations fish stocks and ways to optimally exploit their potential.

Earlier this month, Marine Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti stated that the task force meant to prevent illegal fishing will focus on the border regions.

"There are five regions highly prone to illegal fishing," the Marine Affairs and Fisheries Ministrys press release quoted Minister Pudjiastuti as saying on Tuesday (Nov. 3).

The five regions are the Malacca Strait, Natuna Sea or the South China Sea, the waters in the north of Sulawesi and Kalimantan, Arafuru Sea, and the sea in the south of Java or the Indian Ocean.

Meanwhile, on Monday (Nov. 2), Indonesias task force, meant to keep a check on IUU fishing, held its first coordination meeting at the maritime affairs and fisheries ministry here.

The meeting was presided over by Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Pudjiastuti in her capacity as commander of the IUU fishing task force.

The task force was established in accordance with Presidential Regulation No. 115 of 2015, appointing Minister Pudjiastuti as chief and the deputy chief of staff of the Navy as executive chairman.

The head of the maritime security agency (Bakamla), the head of the Security Maintenance Agency (Baharkam) of the National Police, and the general crime attorney are the task forces deputy executive chairmen.

The new body has the authority to coordinate efforts among various institutions in the fight against illegal fishing activities that have inflicted losses worth Rp300 trillion annually on the state.

Indonesia has incurred material losses and environmental damage due to illegal fishing activities, mostly conducted by foreign fishing boats in its maritime territory.

Therefore, Indonesia has vowed to impose stringent sanctions against the perpetrators of such crimes to serve as a deterrent to other poachers.

This year alone, until mid-October, the Indonesian authorities have sunk at least 91 foreign fishing ships caught poaching in the Indonesian waters as the fight against illegal fishing in its maritime territory continues.(*)

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