The Indonesian government has set up a special force to combat foreign boats’ illegal fishing in the country’s waters.

The move came following a proposal by the Ministry of Defence after President Joko Widodo assigned the naval force to play a key role in the fight against illegal fishing.

The force is managed by the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, with members also from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Transportation and the Indonesian National Police (POLRI).

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti said the new force will track data on fishing boats and calculate damage caused by illicit fishing, among other tasks.

The unlawful practice by foreign vessels has cost Indonesia around 300 trillion rupiah (25 billion USD) a year.

Around 5,400 boats have been reportedly operating illegally in Indonesia’s waters.-VNA