30 Jan 2015

Jokowi cracks down on illegal fishing in Indonesia

8:33 pm on 30 January 2015

A marine conservationist says Indonesia's new President has directed a big shift in government efforts to protect the country's maritime environment.

This picture shows a Vietnamese fishing boat in flames after Indonesian Navy officers blew up the vessel due to illegal fishing activities in the remote Anambas Islands.

A Vietnamese fishing boat in flames after the Indonesian military blew it up for fishing illegally. Photo: AFP

President Joko Widodo has reinstituted the practice of navy and police detaining and sinking foreign fishing vessels found to be illegally fishing in Indonesia's waters.

Police in West Papua this week sunk another Vietnamese-flagged vessel caught allegedly poaching in the province's waters.

Indonesia has sunk at least half a dozen such vessels in the past couple of months.

Stuart Campbell of Wildlife Conservation Society says Jakarta wants to deter the many large vessels from countries to the north which have plundered Indonesia's waters for decades with impunity.

"I'm seeing a greater effort to be a bit more hardline on the protection of natural resources in the marine sphere. So many livelihoods depend on it, they realise they're losing a great economic advantage from letting their resources just slip out of the country without making any profits."