It is a fight that promises to get bitter. But the Indonesian government has launched a determined battle to weed out illegal foreign fishing vessels that authorities claim are stealing heavily from the Indonesian waters and thereby cutting into the livelihood of the local fisherfolk.
"I know the illegal foreign vessels are often backed by well-connected local businesspeople,' said Sarwono Kusumaatmadja, minister of maritime exploration and fisheries. "Many are former high-ranking military officers and senior government officials. I will announce their names if they continue their dirty business,' he warned. Already the government has mobilised military forces and is preparing to use observation satellites to stop foreign vessels from plundering its waters.
Indonesia is the world's largest archipelago and it also has the largest area of territorial waters
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