Indonesia sinks 8 Filipino illegal fishing vessels

• Indonesian authorities sunk 8 Filipino vessels caught fishing illegally off the Asian country’s waters
• The sinking of the boats was done to mark Indonesia’s 71st Independence Day
• Maritime and fisheries officials hope that the sunken ships would become new habitats for the fish

Indonesia sank on Monday, August 15, eight captured fishing vessels from the Philippines to mark the country’s 71st Independence Day.

GMA News Online said the Filipino vessels caught illegally entering Indonesian territorial waters were destroyed on the choppy seas off the North Maluku province and North Sulawesi province, which are both rich in marine resources.

Indonesian authorities claimed that illegal fishing cost their country around $25 billion a year.

The country’s 2009 fisheries law allows the destruction of foreign fishing vessels, but it was only in December of 2014 that Indonesia started destroying illegal fishing vessels. Since then, more than 70 foreign vessels were blown up. But this time, instead of blowing the foreign boats up, maritime and fisheries authorities sunk them by making holes in them.

The Ministry of Maritime and Fisheries said: “It was done with the hope that the sunken ships would become new habitats for the fish in those waters, so they could still contribute to underwater resources, which in the end will help increase the welfare of fishermen.”