Indonesia sinks 81 illegal fishing boats

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Indonesia blows up illegal fishing boats
Indonesian policemen stand on a boat as the government destroyed foreign boats that had been caught illegally fishing in Indonesian waters, near Medan, April 1, 2017 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Picture taken April 1, 2017. Antara Foto/Septianda Perdana/ via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. MANDATORY CREDIT. INDONESIA OUT.
People take pictures of a burning ship as the government destroyed foreign boats that had been caught illegally fishing in Indonesia waters, at Morela village in Ambon island, April 1, 2017 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Picture taken April 1, 2017. Antara Foto/Izaac Mulyawan/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. MANDATORY CREDIT. INDONESIA OUT. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
MEDAN, INDONESIA - APRIL 01: Black smoke seen as foreign fishing vessels were blown up by the Indonesian military from the waters of Belawan on April 1, 2017 in Medan, Indonesia. The sinking on Saturday held simultaneously in twelve different locations throughout the country and supervised by the Indonesian military and police as authorities blew up and sank 81 fishing boats in the waters crept out of the hunt. This takes the total number of ships seized and destroyed to 317 since October 2014 when President Joko Widodo served and calling for tougher action against poachers. PHOTOGRAPH BY Albert Damanik / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftimages.com (Photo credit should read Albert Damanik / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
MEDAN, INDONESIA - APRIL 01: Black smoke seen as foreign fishing vessels were blown up by the Indonesian military from the waters of Belawan on April 1, 2017 in Medan, Indonesia. The sinking on Saturday held simultaneously in twelve different locations throughout the country and supervised by the Indonesian military and police as authorities blew up and sank 81 fishing boats in the waters crept out of the hunt. This takes the total number of ships seized and destroyed to 317 since October 2014 when President Joko Widodo served and calling for tougher action against poachers. PHOTOGRAPH BY Albert Damanik / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftimages.com (Photo credit should read Albert Damanik / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
MEDAN, INDONESIA - APRIL 01: Black smoke seen as foreign fishing vessels were blown up by the Indonesian military from the waters of Belawan on April 1, 2017 in Medan, Indonesia. The sinking on Saturday held simultaneously in twelve different locations throughout the country and supervised by the Indonesian military and police as authorities blew up and sank 81 fishing boats in the waters crept out of the hunt. This takes the total number of ships seized and destroyed to 317 since October 2014 when President Joko Widodo served and calling for tougher action against poachers. PHOTOGRAPH BY Albert Damanik / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftimages.com (Photo credit should read Albert Damanik / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
MEDAN, INDONESIA - APRIL 01: Black smoke seen as foreign fishing vessels were blown up by the Indonesian military from the waters of Belawan on April 1, 2017 in Medan, Indonesia. The sinking on Saturday held simultaneously in twelve different locations throughout the country and supervised by the Indonesian military and police as authorities blew up and sank 81 fishing boats in the waters crept out of the hunt. This takes the total number of ships seized and destroyed to 317 since October 2014 when President Joko Widodo served and calling for tougher action against poachers. PHOTOGRAPH BY Albert Damanik / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftimages.com (Photo credit should read Albert Damanik / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
NORTH SUMATRA, INDONESIA - APRIL 01: Indonesian authorities destroy seven of seventy five foreign illegal fishing vessels in the waters off Belawan in Medan, North Sumatra province, on April 1, 2017, as scuttling of fishing vessels took place in eleven different locations at the same time. The world's biggest archipelago nation has been seeking to stop foreign vessels fishing without permission in its territory, with President Joko Widodo claiming it costs the economy billions of dollars annually. PHOTOGRAPH BY Lana Priatna / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftimages.com (Photo credit should read Lana Priatna / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
NORTH SUMATRA, INDONESIA - APRIL 01: Indonesian authorities destroy seven of seventy five foreign illegal fishing vessels in the waters off Belawan in Medan, North Sumatra province, on April 1, 2017, as scuttling of fishing vessels took place in eleven different locations at the same time. The world's biggest archipelago nation has been seeking to stop foreign vessels fishing without permission in its territory, with President Joko Widodo claiming it costs the economy billions of dollars annually. PHOTOGRAPH BY Lana Priatna / Barcroft Images London-T:+44 207 033 1031 E:hello@barcroftmedia.com - New York-T:+1 212 796 2458 E:hello@barcroftusa.com - New Delhi-T:+91 11 4053 2429 E:hello@barcroftindia.com www.barcroftimages.com (Photo credit should read Lana Priatna / Barcroft Images / Barcroft Media via Getty Images)
Indonesian authorities destroy seven of seventy five foreign illegal fishing vessels in the waters off Belawan in Medan, North Sumatra province, on April 1, 2017, as scuttling of fishing vessels took place in eleven different locations at the same time. The world's biggest archipelago nation has been seeking to stop foreign vessels fishing without permission in its territory, with President Joko Widodo claiming it costs the economy billions of dollars annually. / AFP PHOTO / GATHA GINTING (Photo credit should read GATHA GINTING/AFP/Getty Images)
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JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia destroyed 81 mostly foreign boats at the weekend that had been caught illegally fishing in its waters, taking to more than 300 the number sunk since President Joko Widodo launched a battle against the poaching of fish in 2014.

The Southeast Asian country has some of the world's richest fishing grounds, but authorities have struggled to prevent trawlers, often from Asian neighbors, from making incursions into the seas around the vast archipelago.

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said she hoped the sinking of the ships would be a deterrent for perpetrators of illegal trawling. "We hope that Sino is a symbol of our victory over fish poaching," Pudjiastuti said in a statement, referring to one of the ships sunk, after having witnessed two vessels being destroyed in Ambon in eastern Indonesia.

Boats were sunk in 12 different locations around Indonesia on Saturday, the ministry said in its statement.

The tougher policy on illegal fishing has at times caused tension with neighbors. Last year, a Chinese coast guard vessel intervened when Indonesia attempted to detain a Chinese vessel for fishing illegally in waters near the contested South China Sea.

In 2014, Indonesia estimated that illegal fishing was costing it 101 trillion rupiah ($7.58 billion) a year.

Since October 2014, Indonesia has destroyed 317 ships, the bulk of them from neighboring countries such as Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam, according to the statement.

(Reporting by Augstinus Boa Da Costa; Writing by Ed Davies; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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