Indonesia to release 165 Vietnamese fishermen before Lunar New Year

By VnExpress   January 18, 2017 | 03:12 pm GMT+7
Indonesia to release 165 Vietnamese fishermen before Lunar New Year
Indonesia freed 228 illegal Vietnamese fishermen last September. Photo courtesy of the Vietnam News Agency

Indonesia arrested a record 1,100 illegal fishermen from Vietnam in 2016.

Indonesia handed over 70 fishermen to Vietnam on Tuesday at Soekarno Hatta International Airport, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

Most of the fishermen had been detained for 3-4 months on Batam Island for illegally fishing in Indonesian waters.

Vietnam’s Embassy in Indonesia said that from now until the Lunar New Year, the neighboring country will release another 165 fishermen and send them home by air.

With airline tickets from Indonesia to Vietnam are selling out fast, the fishermen will be split into four groups with the last group arriving home on January 25.

It’s estimated that around 200 Vietnamese fishermen will remain captive in Indonesia.

Last year, Indonesia arrested nearly 1,100 illegal fishermen from Vietnam, rising steeply from 700 in 2015.

Colonel Tran Van Nam from Vietnam’s Coast Guard explained that many fishermen are unaware of international maritime laws or the boundaries of Vietnam’s waters, so they unwittingly stray into foreign fishing zones. In addition, loose management and weak penalties exacerbate the problem.

To prevent illegal fishing, the country’s Fisheries Resources Surveillance Department is trying to raise awareness about maritime boundaries and international maritime laws, and conducts frequent patrols to prevent potential violations.

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