Philippines, Indonesia to revive bilateral accord amid concerns over illegal fishing

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The Indonesian navy scuttles foreign fishing vessels caught fishing illegally in Indonesian waters near Bitung, North Sulawesi on May 20, 2015 in the is photo taken by Antara Foto. China on Thursday, May 21, expressed “serious concern” over the blowing up of a Chinese fishing vessel seized by Indonesia six years ago, the first such incident under President Joko Widodo. Reuters photo

Indonesia had started to tighten its policies against illegal fishing amid continued concerns over poaching by fishermen from neighbouring countries

Gulf News

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Manila: The Philippines and Indonesia are engaged in talks that could revive a bilateral fishing agreement between the two countries as concerns are raised over unabated illegal fishing in the region.

According to Agriculture Secretary Proceso Alcala, both countries had initially agreed to strengthen cooperation in information exchange and enforcement to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF) in their respective territorial waters and fishing grounds.

A bilateral fishing agreement between Indonesia and the Philippines expired in 2006 and the two countries are now in a rush to secure their fishing grounds from intruders.

Alcala had met with Susi Pudjiastuti, Indonesia’s Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), while he was in Jakarta recently to attend the World Economic Forum.

Alcala said the Indonesian official agreed to his suggestion to have both sides convene a technical working group that will meet “at the soonest possible time” to flesh out the issues, including the concerns of Filipino-owned fishing companies in Indonesia regarding MMAF’s strict enforcement of its policies and regulations.

Indonesia had started to tighten its policies against illegal fishing amid continued concerns over poaching by fishermen from neighbouring countries.

Last May 20, Indonesian maritime authorities scuttled 41 fishing vessels caught illegally operating in the countries’ waters.

The vessels that were scuttled include those that fly the flag of the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand as well as China.

The vessels, which were rounded up in several maritime law enforcement activities by Indonesian authorities, were rigged with explosive charges and detonated in seas off Bitung, Pontianak, West Kilamanta, Belawan, North Sumatra, Pidie Aceh and Ranai, Rau Islands, Antara, the government-run Indonesian news service reported.

Director General of Supervision of Fisheries and Marine Resources Asep Burhanudin, said the foreign fishing vessels were scuttled upon orders from President Joko Widodo.

IUU fishing is a major concern in the region as well as globally.

With depleting fish stocks and tightening competition among privately-run entities engaged in fishing, countries with large fishing areas are in increasing need to tighten regulations against illegal or IUU fishing.

Earlier this year, Pudjiastuti announced she would not issue new licenses to foreign fishing companies to protect the country’s territorial waters and fishing grounds from illegal fishing.

Earlier, the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) urged countries to take steps against IUU fishing amid concerns that unabated illegal fishing practices would impact on the world’s fish supply.

“The Western Pacific Region is important because it is the home of more than half of the world’s tuna stocks,” European Commissioner Maria Damanaki of the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, earlier said.

http://gulfnews.com/news/asia/philippines/philippines-indonesia-to-revive-bilateral-accord-amid-concerns-over-illegal-fishing-1.1520094

Image: Chinese fishing vessels are seen anchored at Fiery Cross Reef — part of the Spratly islands — and under the watchful eye of China’s navy. There is a huge economic aspect of China’s interest in the South China Sea. Immense reserves of petroleum and natural gas are below the South China Sea and the sea itself is teeming with marine life and other foods valuable to the Chinese. The islands in this region are claimed partially or in their entirety by Taiwan, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Philippines and Brunei. AFP photo

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2 Responses to “Philippines, Indonesia to revive bilateral accord amid concerns over illegal fishing”

  1. Brittius Says:

    Reblogged this on Brittius.

  2. freeuniverseity Says:

    Reblogged this on Free UniversE-ity.

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