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Indroyono Soesilo: My Colleagues Run, I Look at the Rules First
Coordinating Minister for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Indroyono Susilo. TEMPO/Imam Sukamto
Tuesday, 25 November, 2014 | 12:42 WIB
Indroyono Soesilo: My Colleagues Run, I Look at the Rules First

TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - One month after he was appointed coordinating minister for maritime affairs and fisheries, Indroyono Soesilo's working hours have stretched late into the night. Perhaps it's because he is, so far, the only official coordinating minister. "I'm the only who has received his marching orders, the other coordinating ministers are still awaiting theirs," he said when he met the Tempo team two weeks ago.

In the media flurry of profiling President Joko Widodo's new cabinet members, Indroyono appears very subdued and conservative compared to the flamboyant and unconventional Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti. But there's no question that Indroyono is the man to watch as he is the one tasked with implementing the major changes charted by President Jokowi.

Although maritime affairs is nothing new for Indro who was recently at the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in charge of fisheries his work ahead will definitely not be easy. Besides maritime affairs and fisheries, his responsibility includes overseeing the ministries of Energy and Mineral Resources, Transportation and Tourism.

He spoke for two hours with journalists Qaris Tajudin, Heru Triyono and Ayu Prima, on his vision for Indonesia to become the 'World's Maritime Axis'. He admits to needing the assistance of many people, in particular his sister-in-law, the former Finance Minister Sri Mulyani. "She was in the cabinet, now it's my turn," said Indroyono. Just before the interview began, one of his staff interrupted him to show some documents filled with data.

May we know what the data you were shown was just now?

Here, let me show you. This is a system we have had for a long time, results of a satellite monitoring fishing vessels all over Indonesia.


So we've had this oversight system all the time?

The equipment is from Canada. Before, the data was sent first to Vancouver, then by fax to us. It took just one day. Now, the data monitoring is centered in Bali, which owns a radar antenna to receive data straight from the satellite. In one hour, the digital data is ready. Next December, the monitoring center in Bali will be officially open.


This radar can differentiate between legal and illegal boats?

Yes. In fact, the data can figure out how much loss would be accrued by a boat. Our equipment is able to take pictures day and night. In one click, it can cover an area of 500 square kilometers.


What size boats can be recorded by this radar?

Even 4-meter-long boats can be detected. The satellite measures the size of boats, then converts its tonnage and from there it can figure out how much fish it takes in. Then we can calculate the rupiah value. The satellite can even penetrate cloudy weather. We have actually been doing this for the past 11 years. I did it myself when I worked at the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry.


In that case, what was the follow-up on information about boats operating in Indonesian waters?

We have the data. Now, we are optimizing it.


This satellite monitoring is like a CCTV camera which can catch robbers in the act, but in our case do we lack the security capacity for follow-up action?

The police have 460 boats but only one-third of them actually work and their functional capacity only lasts for no more than one day. Why? Because their fuel supplies are limited. The same applies to the Navy, which has 150 vessels but only 70 of them can be used to patrol the waters, because the fuel supply is enough only for 12-13 vessels.


How will you act against illegal fishing without putting those boats into action?

We have reported it to the president and the House of Representatives (DPR). We told him we need more fuel. If we are expected to raise state revenues by taxing the fishing industry from Rp250 billion to Rp1.5 trillion, we should get more support. Fairness, hard work and incentive.


What is the actual economic value potential of Indonesia's marine resources?

That's difficult to calculate. But I will give you a simple example seaweed. It is harvested every 45 days, while rice is reaped after 90 days. Rice paddies must be given fertilizers, seaweed can be left on its own. Dry seaweed costs Rp10,000 per kilogram. After it's processed into capsules for medication, it brings in about Rp8 million per kilogram. Just imagine that. That doesn't include what we can get out of marine tourism. (*)


Read the full interview in this week's Tempo English Magazine

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