This story might be a few days old but is still of interest and as I haven’t been able to get to it sooner I decided to post about it today.

Indonesia will allow trawling in selected areas for the first time in 30 years, maritime ministry official Bambang Sutejo announced on January 15. Trawling will be allowed off four areas of Indonesia East Kalimantan province, despite concerns about overfishing.

There will not be overfishing this time as we’re only allowing small boats to trawl, and it’s not allowed in other parts of Indonesia,” says Sutejo, adding that legalising trawling would help fight illegal trawlers.

According to Chalid Muhammad of the independent Green Institute, trawling has a destructive impact on the marine environment and will intensify the problem with overfishing in Indonesian waters. “The total amount of fish caught is getting smaller each day while their imports are getting bigger,” says Muhammad.

Muhammad also feels a legalization of trawling will embarrass Indonesia as it prepares to host the World Ocean Conference. “If the government allows this, Indonesia will have a weak standing during the World Ocean Conference as sustainable management of marine resources will be discussed,” Muhammad said. The World Ocean Conference is an international gathering of policymakers and scientists held in May 2009.

Kalimantan is the Indonesian portion of the island Borneo, the third largest island in the world, and is divided into four provinces: East Kalimantan, West Kalimantan, South Kalimantan, and Central Kalimantan.

539px Kalimantan2 Indonesia allows trawling in selected areas

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What is trawling?

Trawling is a fishing practise where fishing boats tow long nets behind them. These nets do not only scoop up commercially valuable fish, but all sorts of marine life. Trawling is divided into bottom trawling and midwater trawling, depending on where in the water column the trawling takes place. Bottom trawling is especially harmful to marine environments since it can cause severe incidental damage to the sea bottoms and deep water coral reefs.