Indonesian fishing boat found with banned trawl net highlights enforcement challenges

Indonesian fishing boat found with banned trawl net highlights enforcement challenges

  • A vessel seized for fishing in an off-limits region in Indonesia may perhaps have also been working with a variety of trawl net that’s been banned for its harmful effect on fish shares.
  • The KM Sinar Samudra was seized off the Natuna Islands on Feb. 18, and a subsequent inspection discovered a banned cantrang trawl internet on board.
  • The boat’s captain denied the net was ever made use of for fishing, and police have selected not to go after fees over the use of illegal fishing gear.
  • Fisheries observers say the case highlights the problem of policing the kind of gear that fishers use in one of the world’s most significant fishing nations.

NATUNA, Indonesia — A fishing vessel seized by authorities in Indonesia for a zoning violation was executing a lot more than just fishing out of bounds, nearby fishers allege: it may well have been making use of a damaging form of internet that’s banned nationwide.

Neighborhood maritime law enforcement seized the Indonesian-flagged KM Sinar Samudra on Feb. 18 after discovering it fishing within 13 nautical miles (24 kilometers) of the coast of the Natuna Islands. At 130 gross tonnage (GT), the vessel need to have been operating at minimum 30 nautical miles (56 km) offshore, beneath a fisheries law provision for vessels larger than 30 GT.

An inspection of the vessel uncovered two kinds of fishing equipment on board, one of which appeared to be a cantrang, a trawl internet that was originally banned in 2015 for its damaging nature a 2010 study showed that nearly 50{aa306df364483ed8c06b6842f2b7c3ab56b70d0f5156cbd2df60de6b4288a84f} of cantrang catches were bycatch and discards.

The KM Sinar Samudra. Impression by Yogi Eka Sahputra/Mongabay Indonesia.
Inspectors examine a internet on board the KM Sinar Samudra soon after it was seized for fishing in a prohibited spot. Impression by Yogi Eka Sahputra/Mongabay Indonesia.

The cantrang ban was provisionally lifted shortly just after it came into drive, to allow for an exemption for fishers from the north coast of Java Island, and was revoked totally in November 2020. In July 2021, the fisheries ministry reimposed the national ban on cantrang and other damaging fishing gear to shield the country’s valuable maritime sources.

The KM Sinar Samudra was among the the fleet of north coastline Java fishing vessels that have been enlisted as an unofficial navy by the Indonesian federal government to fish with their cantrang nets in the waters close to the Natuna Islands amongst Sumatra and Borneo in late 2019 and early 2020. The move was intended to set up a large Indonesian presence there to counter incursions into the place by Chinese fishing boats whilst China has not explicitly laid assert to the Natuna waters, its controversial “nine-dash line” incorporates the place, which is acknowledged by the relaxation of the environment as Indonesian waters.

For the KM Sinar Samudra, that indicates it would have been permitted to use a cantrang internet up until last July. Maritime investigators browsing the vessel just after the zoning violation seizure observed it experienced a cantrang on board, and whilst the captain verified the sort of net, he mentioned it had by no means been deployed for fishing. Law enforcement have picked out not to go after rates for the use of illegal fishing gear.

“As very long as the equipment wasn’t used and it was for mend reasons, it’s not a issue,” Sandy Pratama Putra, the chief of the Natuna maritime law enforcement, explained to Mongabay-Indonesia on Feb. 25. He included the case has been handed in excess of to the fisheries ministry for more investigation.

But community fishers in the Natuna Islands, who have clashed with the much better-geared up Java fishers since the latter arrived in the area, say the KM Sinar Samudra was undoubtedly employing its cantrang to catch fish. Hendri, the chair of the Natuna Fishers Alliance, pointed out that the other web located on board the vessel, with a square mesh instead than the diamond-shaped mesh of a cantrang, “appears clean like new,” inspite of the KM Sinar Samudra acquiring caught 10 metric tons of fish.

Hendri joined an inspection of the vessel on Feb. 22, wherever he observed the fishing equipment on board.

“The law enforcement would not use the cantrang as evidence simply because the boat captain claimed it was by no means utilised, but would a thief confess to the criminal offense?” Hendri stated.

“They would demonstrate [port inspectors] the other internet but would really use the cantrang at sea,” he included.

Maritime authorities and area fishers carry out an inspection aboard the KM Sinar Samudra. One particular of the nets found on the vessel was a sq.-meshed base trawl, regarded as a tarik berkantong web, which is the accepted alternative for the banned cantrang trawl web. Impression by Yogi Eka Sahputra/Mongabay Indonesia.
Just one of the two nets identified on board the KM Sinar Samudra. The diamond-formed mesh marks it out as a cantrang trawl net, which is banned nationwide. Image by Yogi Eka Sahputra/Mongabay Indonesia.

Fisheries observers have known as on the ministry to get the KM Sinar Samudra circumstance as a wake-up connect with to improve monitoring of fishing gear at ports and at sea. They say the ministry should carry out an impartial scientific review on the genuine impacts of the sq.-meshed tarik berkantong nets that have been permitted to swap cantrang.

“Tarik berkantong nets are extremely very similar-searching to cantrang which the authorities has banned,” stated Mohammad Abdi Suhufan, nationwide coordinator for the NGO Damaging Fishing Enjoy (DFW) Indonesia. “Cantrang fishers can be pretty slick.”

Abdi also identified as on all fishers to enable with monitoring at sea, noting that Indonesia has a dearth of maritime inspectors.

Hendri, the Natuna fisherman, identified as for a temporary ban on tarik berkantong nets right up until its impacts on fish stocks and the setting are much better recognized. “We hope tarik berkantong nets are canceled or set below a moratorium right up until we know accurately what it is,” he reported.

This tale was documented by Mongabay’s Indonesia workforce and 1st released below and here on our Indonesian web site on March 2 and 5, 2022.

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