Jakarta. Indonesia has destroyed at least 317 boats under President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo's administration in a bid to protect the country’s exclusive economic zone from foreign fishing vessels, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said on Wednesday (18/10).
"A total of 317 illegal boats have been sunk, at least 1,020 people who are victims of human trafficking have also been rescued," Susi said in Jakarta.
The minister added that the government has been working to prevent the smuggling of crabs and lobsters from national waters. The illegal trade was valued at Rp 508 billion ($37.5 million) as of July this year.
Susi also emphasized that the area of protected waters increased in 2017 to 18.36 million hectares from 16.4 million hectares in 2014.
"This is the commitment of Jokowi to protect the sea as the future of the nation," Susi said, adding that foreign fishermen are only allowed in Indonesian waters to process, market and freeze fish.
Susi has urged the United Nations to categorize illegal fishing as a transnational crime.
The ships the country drowned hail mostly from neighboring Asian countries, including China, Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia.