The North Sumatran Fishermen Alliance (ANSU) is supporting the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry’s policy to sink foreign-flagged vessels caught fishing illegally in Indonesian waters.
ANSU secretary Leonardo Marbun said the policy to sink illegal boats must continue to be implemented because not only were foreign fishermen stealing Indonesia’s resources, they were also breaching the country’s sovereignty.
“The territory is ours but it is the foreigners who have the power over it. Where is our sovereignty?” Leonardo told The Jakarta Post on Wednesday.
“That’s why we support the ministry’s policy to keep sinking illegal fishing boats.”
Leonardo went on to say local fishermen were benefiting from the policy. Foreign fishing boats that used to enter North Sumatran waters in Batubara, Belawan and Deli Serdang have not been seen again.
“There used to be fishing boats from Thailand and Vietnam in North Sumatran waters. Since the ministry implemented the boat-sinking policy, they have become afraid to enter our territory,” he said. “Traditional fishermen no longer have to compete against them.”
However, Leonardo admitted that the policy had not yet had a significant impact on the fishermen’s catches because there were vessels that still used trawls that could trap massive amounts of fish.
“Trawls are also the enemies of traditional fishermen and need to be banned,” he said.