Since Susi Pudjiastuti left her post atop the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries in 2019, the nation’s fisheries policy has undergone major changes. Besides reviving a controversial lobster larvae export program that Susi had banned and ending her policy of sinking foreign poaching boats, now the ministry is formulating regulations on how to promptly release illegal foreign fishing vessels caught by Indonesian authorities. So is it the best time to have such a regulation in Indonesia? Indeed, the obligation for granting a prompt release for illegal foreign fishing vessels and crews is laid out under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). UNCLOS not only grants a sovereign right to a coastal state to explore and exploit natural resource in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), but also the right to conduct law enforcement against any breach of national regulations if there are a foreign fishing vessels illegally fishing in the coastal state’s EEZ. However, UNCLOS also imposes a limitation on law enforcement in the EEZ, since coastal states only have sovereign rights over natural resources and not full sovereignty. Article 73(2), for instance, states that if vessels and their crews are caught for illegal fishing practices in the EEZ, they should be promptly released upon the posting of a reasonable bond or other security. Since Indonesia is a party to UNCLOS, it is bound to the obligation to grant prompt release under Article 73(2). To date, however, Indonesia does not have specific regulations on…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer