Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti has claimed that sent away some 10,000 fishing ships from Indonesian waters through her tough policy of sinking vessels operating illegally in the archipelago.
She said the foreign fishing ships, most of which were larger than those owned Indonesian traditional fishermen and were equipped with more sophisticated fishing tools, had overexploited Indonesia’s maritime resources.
She denied her policy had turned the domestic fishery industry stagnant, arguing that its contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) had increased in recent years.
“The fishery industry is improving. We have been able to […] improve our fishing fleet,” Susi said in a press conference in Jakarta on Thursday as quoted by tempo.co. She was speaking an event to review her ministry’s achievement in the first half of 2019.
According to Susi, the fishery industry’s contribution to GDP grew 5.67 percent in the first quarter of 2019, higher than the national GDP growth of 5.07 percent. The industry has contributed Rp 62.31 trillion (US$4.41 billion) from Rp 58.97 trillion in the first quarter of 2018.
Susi also claimed that fishery production in the first quarter of 2019 increased by 3.03 percent year-on-year.
The ministry started cracking down on illegal fishing in 2015. More than 488 vessels caught fishing illegally in Indonesian waters have been scuttled or destroyed since then, with last year’s figure alone reaching 87 ships weighing between 70 and 120 gross tonnage.