Indonesia’s new bill targets illegal fishing vessel owners

The owners of ships engaged in illegal fishing in Indonesia could finally face criminal justice under proposed amendments to the country’s fisheries law, as the government seeks to foster a sustainable industry in one of the world’s richest fisheries.

The bill of amendments submitted to parliament by the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries incorporates points from existing ministerial and presidential decrees issued after the passage of the 2009 Fisheries Act. These include bans on, among other things, foreign fishing vessels and crews; the transshipment of fish catches between vessels at sea; and foreign investment in the capture fisheries sector.

The ministry is also seeking authority for law enforcement agencies to burn and sink boats caught in the act of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, without having to wait for a guilty verdict from a court, as is currently required.

The most important point, though, is the proposed expansion of criminal punishment for perpetrators of illegal fishing. Under the current legislation, only those caught in the act of IUU fishing—typically boat crews—face prosecution, while the owners of the vessels avoid any kind of punishment.

Click here for full story.