Global Fishing Watch : Foreign Illegal Fishers Declining in Indonesia

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kapal ikan ilegal
13 Kapal Ikan Asing (KIA) ilegal berbendera Vietnam ditenggelamkan di Perairan Tanjung Datu, Kalimantan Barat., Sabtu (04/05/2019). Foto: KKP

Jakarta (Greeners) – An analysis by Global Fishing Watch (GFW) Indonesia revealed that foreign activities in Indonesian waters drastically decrease after Minister of Marine and Fisheries Affairs, Susi Pudjiastuti, banned them in 2014. 

After analysing Automatic Identification System (AIS) (1), a vessel tracking system from open source, Global Fishing Watch Indonesia detected up to 6,800 hours of fishing every month, between 2012 and 2014. These monthly numbers went down to more 95 percent for months during the ban. 

Recently, Minister of Marine and Fisheries Affairs, Susi Pudjiastuti, revealed the first semester’s performance in 2019 and stated that the ministry drowned 516 fish stealing vessels in 2014. For the Semester 1 in 2019, the ministry caught 67 vessels. 

“IUU fishing eradication is giving positive impact to National Fish Stock. Based on the Fish Stock Assessment National Commission, the Maximum Sustainable Yield of Indonesian fisheries is increasing from 7.3 million tons in 2015 to 12.54 million tons in 2017, or 71.78 percent,” said Minister Susi. 

READ ALSO : Minister Susi Sinks 13 Illegal Fishing Vessels from Vietnam

Furthermore, GFW also revealed that foreign vessels in Indonesia’s Exclusive Economy Zone are not declining after the ban. 

With higher monitoring to detect violations in border areas, of which according to GFW, are the locations for cargo ships with freezers or reefer, and other vessels, and potentially engage in illegal activities, such as transshipment. 

Meanwhile, Mas Achmad Santosa, coordinator of Illegal Fishing Eradication Task Force (Satgas 115), said that they to strengthen fisheries areas rarely occupied by Indonesian fishing vessels should be filled with Indonesian fishers. 

Because, the facts showed that Indonesian fishers in one areas will reduce intrusion from foreign vessels. 

“Our monitoring patrol in north Natuna, near the border of our EEZ and borders with Palau, Papua New Guinea, and Timor must be strengthened,” said Santosa. 

In addition, GFW analysis showed that more than 90 percent of foreign fishing vessels detected in Indonesian waters carried Chinese or Taiwanese flags and weight 80-1500 Gross Tonnage (GT), between 2012-14. 

READ ALSO : Minister Susi Pudjiastuti: It’s Time to Protect Indonesia’s Oceans

The analysis followed the latest study using Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) Indonesia as its guidance. VMS is used to track Indonesia’s fleets, using Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), to detect fishing vessels with bright lights to drag its catch or operating during the night. 

Both data sets matched in real time which can help authorities to identify dark vessels, or ships that turned off their tracking device, to avoid being monitored. 

Ahmad Baihaki, Indonesia Program Manager of Global Fishing Watch, said that Indonesia’s leaderships to disseminate VMS publicly has allowed them to support the government’s work to understand more on marine issues and fishing industry. 

“We hoping to do more analysis like this as our collaboration with Indonesian government, academicians, or any stakeholders to achieve targets of sustainable marine,” said Baihaki.

Reports by Dewi Purningsih