Jakarta. Indonesia aims to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated, or IUU, fishing, by expanding its approach and creating a more integrated system that includes monitoring via satellite and drones and by placing a tanker on standby for refueling.
Speaking at a press conference in Central Jakarta on Tuesday (09/01), Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said the government is amid preparations for the new system, which will be tested first in the Natuna Sea.
"This is what we’re working on, right now we want to put a tanker [in the Natuna Sea] so that our patrol vessels can refuel easily without having to travel back and forth. Once we have a tanker, the patrol vessels can be out in the ocean for a month, instead of only a few days," Luhut said.
The minister touched on the importance of an integrated system to tackle IUU fishing, adding that having a tanker on standby will also reduce costs and may increase overall efficiency as the vessel will be paired with satellite and drone monitoring.
"We will also prepare a fleet from Bakamla [Maritime Security Agency] to ensure security," Luhut said.
Indonesia’s tough crackdown on illegal fishing has included the sinking of foreign vessels found in its waters. According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in November, the number of vessels destroyed – most of which belonged to neighboring countries – has reached more than 300.
Luhut said it is time to expand the previous "shock therapy" approach, which was intended to act as a deterrent, and that the government is working to give away the stranded boats to Indonesian fishermen.
According to the 2009 Law on Fisheries, provinces can seize or destroy objects and tools used in or resulting from illegal fishing after approval from the district court.
More specifically, the law also says that fishing boats used in this instance can then be handed down to fishery unions or fishery business groups.
"We have many fishermen, so why don’t we give them these boats through a lawful process so that they can go out and fish?" Luhut said.