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Asia Minute: Sustainable Fishing Initiative in Indonesia

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Sustainable fishing is a practice that’s getting more attention—not only here in Hawai‘i but also around the globe. Indonesia has become the first country in the world to take an unusual step in that direction. And it’s being led by a cabinet minister who is gathering a growing international following. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Indonesia is sharing information about the location of its commercial fishing fleet and is urging other countries to do the same.

The data will go up on a website maintained by a conservation group called “Global Fishing Watch." Peru became the first country to promise to follow suit.

Indonesian Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti says the practice can “begin a new era in transparency to end illegal and unreported fishing.”

She has tightened regulations against domestic illegal fishing.

On the international front, her reaction has been more dramatic, blowing up ships that have been caught fishing illegally in Indonesian waters–more than three hundred and counting.

She’s also gained popularity in Indonesia for an unapologetic no-nonsense style.

A high school dropout who became a seafood entrepreneur, she had no political experience before President Joko Widodo put her in charge of a crackdown on illegal fishing.

She doesn’t exactly fit the profile of a typical politician in the world’s most populous Islamic country–she’s divorced, tattooed, and a smoker.

She’s also won international recognition for her work in protecting Indonesia’s fishing stocks, and domestic polls find her the most popular cabinet minister in the country.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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