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Blowing up illegal fishing boats helps Indonesian fishers by Michael Tennesen August 06,2018   |  Source: Nat Geo

Indonesia, one of the world’s leading producers of tuna, decided several years ago it had had enough of illegal foreign fishing boats entering its exclusive economic zone and taking an average of $4 billion a year in fisheries profits. In 2014 the Southeast Asian nation—a vast archipelago of more than 13,000 islands—imposed a one-year moratorium on fishing vessels built abroad, in order to evaluate their impact.

During the moratorium officials discovered boats disguising foreign ownership under local names, falsifying Indonesian fishing permits or using the same permit for multiple boats. This evidence augmented other reports of foreign vessels underreporting the sizes of their boats, avoiding taxes and intruding in waters reserved for local small-scale fishers.

To address the problem, Indonesia created a task force consisting of the country’s navy, marine police, coast guard and attorney general’s office. Task force members started out by aggressively capturing illegal foreign boats and deporting their crews. Then, to drive the point home, they cut, torched or dynamited holes in bottoms of the boats—sending hundreds of vessels to the seafloor to join the fishes they had sought. According to Mas Achmad Santosa, special advisor to the Indonesia Presidential Task

 

© 2018 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, A DIVISION OF SPRINGER NATURE AMERICA, INC.

Theme(s): Fishing Craft, Gear and Fishing Methods.

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