Indonesian Government building an integrated system to tackle IUU fishing
According to a report by Jakarta Globe, the Government of Indonesia is amid preparations for an integrated system to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, quoting Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan at a press conference in Jakarta.
The Coordinating Minister was quoted to state that the new integrated system will first be tested in the Natuna Sea. The idea is to strengthen patrolling efforts in the area by stationing a tanker in the Natuna Sea to refuel patrol vessels.
Instead of having patrol vessels travel back and forth for refuelling, the standby tanker will allow patrol vessels to lengthen their missions from only a few days to a month. This will help authorities to increase efficiency of patrolling missions at a reduced cost.
Other than the tanker, the integrated system also aims at boosting the Government’s monitoring capabilities with the help of satellites and drones.
As a cross-agency effort, the integrated system will also have a fleet from the Indonesian Maritime Security Board, Bakamla, to ensure overall security.
Considering illegal fishing a transnational crime that severely hurts the country, Indonesia’s war on illegal fishing has been ongoing. According to a report on ASEAN News, IUU fishing costs Indonesia over US$3 billion annually. To tackle this, the Government has been adopting the “shock therapy” approach by tough crackdowns that including sinking hundreds of foreign illegal vessels found in its waters.
Moving forward, Coordinating Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan said the Government is working to find expand ways to deter illegal fishing in its waters. This include giving seized illegal fishing boats to local fishery unions and fishery groups after approval from the district court, according to the 2009 Law on Fisheries.
As previously reported, Indonesia was the first country in the world to publicly share its vessel monitoring system data to fight IUU and other transnational crime like drugs and human trafficking.
Indonesia’s ongoing war against IUU fishing has won some attention and support from the international community. According to a report by Antara News, the US Government has expressed its commitment to support to Indonesia in its fight against IUU fishing.
Indonesia and the United States are both signatory countries of the Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing (PSMA) which is the world’s first binding international treated to combat IUU fishing. The international treaty is enforced worldwide since 2016.
Since their endorsement of PSMA, Indonesia and the US have been collaborating on initiatives to fight IUU. For example, Indonesian port authorities have sent representatives from Jakarta, Bungus, Bitung, Ambon, and Sukabumi attended a PSMA workshop organised by the US Agency for International Development and US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration earlier this month.