Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s plan to establish Indonesia as a “global maritime axis” took a step forward last month, as U.S. ambassador Robert Blake announced a partnership program to help improve marine law enforcement in the world’s largest archipelagic nation.
According to the World Bank, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF) costs an estimated $20 billion in lost revenue annually – it’s thought that up to a quarter of these losses occur in Indonesia, whose fishing industry is second only to China in size.
2015 saw the country launch a high profile “war” on IUUF, as the charismatic new fisheries minister, Susi Pudjiastuti, set about sending a strong message to Indonesia’s neighbors by blowing up vessels caught fishing illegally and arresting their crews. Since she took office in October 2014, 157 boats have been seized and 113 sunk, while 15 companies have lost their business permits. Pudjiastuti also banned transshipment at sea and restricted commercial fishing grounds.