Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti speaks in a press conference about illegal fishing in North Natuna Sea in Jakarta in September. (Antara Photo/Puspa Perwitasari)

Two Foreign Fishing Boats Caught Fishing Illegally in North Natuna Sea

BY :NUR YASMIN

OCTOBER 15, 2019

Jakarta. The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry's maritime guards have apprehended two fishing boats from Vietnam and Malaysia for illegal fishing and trespassing in the North Natuna Sea, an official said on Tuesday.
 
"We arrested 14 crew members from the Vietnamese boat and a prohibited fishing tool called a pair trawl," Agus Suherman, the acting director general of marine resources and fisheries at the ministry, said in Jakarta.

The maritime guards also arrested a crew member of the Malaysian boat that was carrying some 100 kilograms of various fish in its storage.

"We are sending them to Batam to be investigated. They face a maximum sentence of six years in prison and a fine of Rp 20 billion [$1.4 million] if convicted," Agus said.

Whether the two fishing boats will be destroyed, a popular policy introduced by Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti, will depend on the court ruling, Agus said.

"According to the law, the vessels can be destroyed. We are still investigating the case and we will work together with Interpol and law enforcement agencies from the boats' countries of origin," he said.

According to data from the ministry, 51 foreign vessels have been caught illegally fishing and trespassing in Indonesian waters this year: 20 boats from Malaysia, 19 from Vietnam, 11 from the Philippines and one from Panama.

Last Monday, Susi led proceedings to destroy 19 foreign vessels convicted of illegal fishing and trespassing in three districts – Natuna and Batam in the Riau Islands province and Belawan in North Sumatera. 

Susi said surveillance and security in the Natuna Sea had been increased because the area shares maritime borders with Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam.

"Natuna is our outermost island and all of our neighbors shall not steal our fish. There should be no more unauthorized trans-shipment or covert transfers of catch between vessels in the middle of the sea. They must report their catch to us," Susi said.

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