Indonesia to seek UN support to curb illegal fishing

Antara 6 May 17;

Yogyakarta (ANTARA News) - Indonesia will seek the support of the United Nations to declare illegal fishing as a transnational organized crime, Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Susi Pudjiastuti said here on Saturday.

"With it being declared as a transnational crime, it will be easier for all countries to conduct coordination to deal with it," she said after speaking at a national seminar on "Innovation, Technology and Social Entrepreneurship" at Muhammad University.

She stated that she planned to raise the issue of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing as a transnational organized crime at a side event of the UN General Assembly.

"We will be facilitated by Mr. Peter Thomson (President of the UN General Assembly) to hold a side event through which we can call on the UN to support us in declaring the IUU fishing as a transnational crime," she noted.

Like terrorism, illegal fishing will be able to be tackled internationally if categorized as a transnational crime, she explained.

"It is because the activity is transnational with regard to countries involved, crews who are from various countries, and the flags flown, which are also from various countries," she remarked.

It often involves other crimes too such as smuggling, human trafficking, narcotic drug smuggling, slavery, and smuggling of rare animals.

"Therefore, international cooperation is indeed needed to deal with the IUU fishing," she asserted.

Susi revealed that the Indonesian initiative has actually been supported by many UN member countries such as Norway, Papua New Guinea, and many European countries. (*)

Indonesia seeks global support against poaching
Imanuddin Razak The Jakarta Post 13 May 17;

With illegal fishing practices extending beyond the country’s territorial borders, Indonesia is seeking international assistance in tackling the multi-dimensional problem.

It is to campaign for her zero-tolerance approach on illegal fishing that Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti attended conferences in the United States.

“We have to push for more action against illegal fishing. Sharing with all of you here of what we have done in the last two years, the results are remarkable, as we have managed to increase our catches,” Susi told the Global Leadership Symposium in Washington DC on Thursday.

Addressing a gathering of maritime scientists, activists and enthusiasts at the Pew Charitable Trusts headquarters, she said the sinking of 380 foreign boats caught poaching in Indonesian waters had had a significant deterrent effect on illegal fishing activities and subsequently increased local fishermen’s catches. She said that local fishermen had caught 2.6 million tons of fish in 2006. That figure had more than tripled to 9.9 million tons in 2016 and was expected to reach 12 million tons this year.

Adding more data to her presentation at the symposium, the minister revealed her ministry’s findings on yellowfin tuna and 20 other types of fish that had reportedly vanished from Indonesian waters in the last 15 to 20 years due to uncontrolled and illegal fishing activities.

“The recovery rate of our fishes has gone beyond logical thinking. All of this is the result of our seriousness in combating illegal fishing,” Susi said.

Yet, combating illegal fishing alone was not enough, especially when poachers had become more creative and aggressive in conducting illegal fishing activities in Indonesian waters, exploiting the limited infrastructure and the limited capacity of maritime authorities to monitor and safeguard the seas.

“Indonesia does not have enough patrol boats and surveillance systems to oversee our waters,” she told the audience.

In her meeting with Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of the US Senate Oceans Caucus later in the day, Susi brought up the issue of complicated documentation practices by foreign poachers.

“One of the foreign vessels sunk by us was a vessel that had 32 flags in its compartment and had changed ownership 12 times, making it difficult to [track down] the true owner in charge,” she said.

In addition to Indonesia’s limited capacity to protect its waters against the increasing capacity of poachers to steal fish within its territory, Susi called for US assistance in equipping Indonesia with coastal radars that could provide satellite images on the presence of such poachers.

“We have received assistance from Australia and Norway for the satellite monitoring of poachers mooring their vessels at high seas and [exploiting] our limited capacity to constantly monitor our seas to steal our fish,“she told Whitehouse.

Indonesia needed at least six radars to be stationed at Sabang Port in Aceh, Natuna in Riau Islands, Saumlaki and Morotai in Maluku, Biak in Papua and in waters near Timor-Leste.

In response, Senator Sheldon said he would bring up the issue at a bipartisan congressional meeting in September.

Ending her US campaign on Thursday, Susi attended and addressed the 2017 Peter Benchly Ocean Awards at the Smithsonian National History Museum. Being selected as this year’s recipient of the award in the national stewardship category, Susi called for international support and cooperation to combat rampant illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

She said IUU fishing was not only a problem for Indonesia, but for many countries of the world, adding that it should become a global concern for food sustainability.

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