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 Indonesia, Australia agree on fisheries cooperation

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BerichtOnderwerp: Indonesia, Australia agree on fisheries cooperation    vr 9 okt 2015 - 2:09

The Jakarta Post, Thu, October 08 2015

In line with its plan to synchronize maritime law enforcement policies with its neighbors Indonesia has secured the support of Australia to protect the country from incursions by foreign fishermen who illegally enter the country’s vast territorial waters.

Australia has agreed to strengthen its cooperation with Indonesia on combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices, and to engage at the operational level and promote sustainable fisheries governance.

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti met with Australia’s Agriculture and Water Resources Minister Barnaby Joyce on Wednesday to sign a joint communiqué on the cooperation to combat IUU fishing.

“We want to strengthen this cooperation for collective gain — Australia will also sign the declaration to combat illegal fishing in Asia and the Pacific, especially on Indonesia’s borders with Timor Leste, Papua New Guinea and Fiji,” Susi told reporters during a press conference at her office on Wednesday.

Susi welcomed the improved cooperation with Australia in the maritime sector, acknowledging that without its southern neighbors, Indonesia would have a hard time monitoring the vast waters in the eastern part of the

“Our hope is that we will be able to enhance our cooperation to ensure that no one will poach fish on our borders with Australia, PNG and Timor Leste,” she explained.

Meanwhile, Minister Joyce praised Susi’s work in the sector and said that he looked forward to collaborating more in a global setting to better manage the fisheries sector.

“We are very happy with the work that Australians are doing with the Indonesians in making sure that we find out who is sneaking into other people’s places and stealing their fish,” Joyce told reporters on Wednesday.

“All I can say is it’s lucky that we caught them before Ibu Susi bombed them or burned them,” he added.

Joyce also stressed the importance of doing further work together in the fisheries sector so that all fishermen in the region got a fair deal.

“Otherwise it’s just going to get fished out and other people are going to steal a product that sustains their way of life, sustains their economic income — and that is just not fair,” he added.

As part of the proposed cooperation, Indonesia has invited Australia to expand coordinated patrols near the maritime borders of Timor Leste and PNG, as well as providing all necessary support and assistance in combatting IUU fishing.

Indonesia also asked Australia’s border officials to provide intelligence to assist in its crackdown on poaching.

In return, Australia will receive Indonesia’s support — among others — in its recently updated Sedentary Organisms Proclamation, in which Australia will be able to lay claim to areas “proximate to Indonesia and [which] sits beneath waters” within Indonesia’s fisheries jurisdiction under current arrangements.

The cooperation takes into account the Regional Plan of Action (RPOA) to promote responsible fishing practices, the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI-CFF) and the declaration on strategic action programs for the Arafura and Timor Seas Ecosystem Action (ATSEA), as well as other regional frameworks such as the Australia-Indonesia Fisheries Surveillance Forum (AISF).

Mas Achmad Santosa, the head of the IUU fishing prevention task force, said the government was due to meet with representatives of Timor Leste, PNG and Fiji in the coming months.

“We have to strengthen cooperation among these countries so that we have a common standard for legal enforcement,” he said.

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