The Jakarta Post/Jakarta
Indonesia needs to boost its naval weapons defense system (Alutsista) to maintain its maritime sovereignty against rampant illegal fishing by foreign ships and boost its competitiveness in the global fisheries market, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said recently.
“We have limited facilities [to protect our maritime sovereignty]; we have only a few small patrol ships. The Indonesian government has not improved its primary weaponry defense system for the maritime sector, focusing instead on protecting our land,” she said.
She added that because the ocean made up around 70 percent of Indonesia’s total area, the defense system procured to protect the nation’s waters should be proportional.
Despite Indonesia’s vast ocean, the country is still struggling to make maximum use of its maritime resources, mainly due to foreign ships that are involved in illegal fishing.
“Globally, many countries are under pressure by the ever-growing demand for fish, which has depleted from their waters. Therefore, certain countries attempt to enter our maritime area [to catch fish illegally],” Susi said.
Although Indonesia was still striving to equip itself with adequate maritime surveillance equipment and technology, the country already had a large pool of manpower eager to protect its seas, she added.
“We continuously provide our sea patrollers with various courses across all segments related to their work, from shipping to [crime] investigation,” she said. “I hope that at least we can be among the 10 biggest seafood exporters in the world one day.”