As the world’s second biggest fish producer, Indonesia has significant interest in safeguarding its waters from illegal fishing. This has been promoted under the Joko Widodo (Jokowi) administration, whose vision is turning Indonesia into a global maritime fulcrum. Jokowi has shown no hesitation in using a strong-arm approach to protect the country’s sovereignty and wealth – including implementing a ‘Sink The Vessels’ policy and making global efforts to categorise illegal fishing as a transnational crime.
Despite the controversy around Indonesia’s actions to publicly sink illegal ships, Maritime and Fisheries Minister, Susi Pudjiastuti, has been a tough implementer of the policy. To date, more than 380 vessels have been scuttled or destroyed since 2015 – and Pudjiastuti insists to continue enforcing the tough punishment. In support of this, the Ministry has shown an openness to innovative technology that can enhance its capability in guarding Indonesian waters. Last year, Indonesia became the first country to share the government’s official fishing data – allowing Google and Global Fishing Watch to develop an online mapping platform to monitor maritime traffic. The platform makes previously invisible boats viewable, allows real-time monitoring of fishing activities, and even has the ability to establish patterns to determine whether a vessel is in transit or fishing. This progress suggests one further avenue for greater collaboration between the government and private sector to use technology and innovation, and the online platforms these drive, to support public policy.
Image credit: FLPA/Alamy Stock Photo via Hakai Magazine.