JAKARTA: The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry has seized a Philippines-flagged vessel allegedly engaged in illegal fishing in Indonesia’s state fisheries management area 716 in the Sulawesi Sea.
Marine and Fishery Resources Management (PSDKP) Director General Rear Adm Adin Nurawaluddin from the ministry said the arrest was made during a surveillance operation by the Marine and Fisheries Monitoring Vessel Hiu 15 under the control of the Tahuna PSDKP Base.
"Based on the reports from the incident, the Philippines ship is suspected of conducting illegal fishing by using a pump vessel with handline fishing tools in the Sulawesi Sea without legitimate permit documents from the Indonesian government," said Adin on Tuesday (Nov 28, as quoted by CNBC Indonesia.
Adin said the Hiu 15 first detected the ship, identified as the FB.CA.AM 02, in the Indonesian exclusive economic zone (EEZ) less than two nautical miles (3.6km) from the Indonesia-Philippines EEZ border on Nov 22.
The Hiu 15 started a pursuit of the illegal fishing ship until the patrol ship seized the fishing vessel at 5:29pm local time.
In a search of the fishing vessel, PSDKP officials discovered two crew, 10kg of dried mahi-mahi fish, and 2kg of dried squid. The patrol ship also secured pieces of evidence, including four handlines, one Furuno GP-32 GPS navigation tool, one Uniden Pro 520 XL radio communication tool, and one sheet of a fisherman's licence.
The PSDKP suspects a potentially new modus operandi (MO) in poaching in the area after discovering the dried seafood products on board.
"A trend we have discovered recently is how the majority of Philippine fishing vessels that we seize carry dried fish. We are investigating this matter to see if it is related to a possible new MO," said Adin.
Adin said illegal Philippine fishing vessels in the area follow a particular MO, consisting of catching fish in the Indonesian part of the Sulawesi Sea and sending their loads to cargo ships waiting on the Philippine border.
Earlier in April, the PSDKP discovered another possible MO used by illegal Philippine fishing vessels, in which they convert pump vessels into light vessels to attract fish into approaching them.
During that incident, the PSDKP seized five illegal Philippine fishing vessels and their cargoes of 500kg of seafood products, including mackerel tuna, skipjack tuna and squid. - The Jakarta Post/ANN