Sat, 03 Apr 2004

Select fishing boats licensed

PONTIANAK, West Kalimantan: The Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Affairs has granted licenses to 800 foreign fishing boats to operate in the country's marine exclusive economic zone in a bid to ease the supervision of illegal fishing.

"If there are boats that are not among those 800 licensed boats operating in the territory, it is certain they are illegal," said minister Rokhmin Dahuri here on Friday after giving 16 boats seized from Thai poachers to local fishermen.

He added that current conditions differed greatly from that before the ministry was established, when some 7,000 illegal fishing boats operated in Indonesia's maritime territory.

According to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the 7,000 illegal boats had cost Indonesia one million tons of fish annually and US$4 billion in revenue.

Rochimin said Indonesia was obliged to license foreign fishing boats to operate here in accordance with the 1982 United Nations Law on Sea.

The law states that a country must give licenses to surrounding countries to operate in its marine zone if the country is considered unable to fully manage the potential within its marine zone. -- Antara