JAKARTA - Total, 163 boats were seized in 2016 for poaching fish in various regions of Indonesia.
"The number of boats seized increases every year," Sjarief Widjaja, the acting director of fishery and marine resource supervision of the Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, stated here on Friday (6/1).
He said that in 2016, his office had deployed 35 ships to supervise the fishing areas and had conducted a check on a total of 3,783 fishing boats, thereby leading to the seizure of 163 vessels.
"The figure was higher than 108 recorded in 2015 and 38 in 2014," he revealed.
163 boats were taken into custody based on strong evidence that they had conducted illegal fishing. Of the total, 140 were foreign boats and 23 were domestic vessels. The largest number of boats seized was from Vietnam, reaching 83; followed by the Philippines, totaling 29; and Malaysia, 26.
Widjaja remarked that his office had also interrogated 1,661 crew members of fishing boats, of which 235 were named as suspects.
Minister of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Susi Pudjiastuti affirmed that she would continue to prioritize efforts to crack down on illegal fishing activities by boosting sea security in 2017.
"The KKP (the ministry of fisheries and maritime affairs) will continue to focus on law enforcement and sea security," the minister said.
Susi noted that the program would be prioritized and implemented in cooperation with the Task Force 115. The minister remarked that the program was in line with the governments vision to make the sea as the nations future resource.
"(We) will continue operations to eradicate illegal fishing by sinking boats found involved in the practice, but now, we would not reveal it to the media. I think the efforts, so far, have been adequate to offer a deterrent effect," she added.