Indonesian net isn’t drifting

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, July/August 1997:

As Indonesia prepared a successful
bid to host the 1999 meeting of the
Convention on International Trade in
Endangered Species, Bill Rossiter of
Cetacean Society International forwarded
reports from scuba diver Steve Morris and
marine mammologist Peter Rudolph,
indicating “military and governmental
authorities” had allowed Taiwanese fishers
to suspend two huge nylon nets from
pylons in the Lembeh Strait, just offshore
from the Tangkoko Nature Reserve.
Paraphrasing Morris, Rossiter
said the nets went up in March 1996, and
in their first year caught 1,424 manta rays,
18 whale sharks, 312 other sharks, four
minke whales, 326 dolphins, 577 pilot
whales, 789 marlin, 84 sea turtles, and
nine dugong.

The Rossiter/Morris account hit
the Internet on May 11. By May 15, one
net had disappeared, but the pylons that
held it reportedly remained in place.
“Local government offices,
such as the harbor master, Fisheries
Department, Forestry Department, Coast
Guard, and Bitung police have all stated
that they are unaware of any irregularities,”
Rossiter wrote. “The Indonesian
government was among the major cosponsors
of the 1995 United Nations conference
on Straddling Fish Stocks and High
Migratory Fish Stocks, agreeing to all
eleven articles implemented. It is
believed,” he said, “that the central government
in Jakarta has had little knowledge
of the full extent of the actions of
this fishery.”

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