Vietnamese fishing boat blasted by the Indonesian navy due to illegal fishing activities in the South China Sea earlier this month. Last Sunday, Indonesia sank two more vessels, both from Papua New Guinea. It was a signal the fight against illegal fishing in the region has been taken to a new level: A group of Vietnamese fishing trawlers in flames and sinking slowly after being blasted with gunfire by the Indonesian navy. Last Sunday, Indonesia sank two more, both from Papua New Guinea, and the government says it plans to sink more captured vessels. Jakarta’s crackdown, which includes setting up a fish theft eradication force, is a long delayed response to years of illegal fishing in its waters. Around 5,000 vessels – mostly from Thailand, Vietnam, China, Malaysia and the Philippines – fish illegally in Indonesian waters. The Indonesian government says this causes annual losses of more than US$20 billion (S$26 billion). Soon after the sinking of the Vietnamese trawlers on Dec 5, off the remote Anambas Islands in the South China Sea, the authorities arrested 22 Chinese ships for fishing illegally, according to reports. None of the Chinese vessels has been sunk yet. The two trawlers flying Papua New Guinea flags were sunk last Sunday in Ambon Bay in the eastern Maluku islands. Tempo magazine said the vessels had 72 Thai and Cambodian crew members as well as seven Indonesians on board.

Source: Asia One