Indonesia Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries
Finalist, Seafood Champion Awards Leadership Category
Known for her crackdown on illegal fishing, Susi Pudjiastuti’s contribution to seafood sustainability goes beyond that one issue. Reforms championed by this successful seafood entrepreneur–turned–government minister range from banning destructive fishing gear to fighting slavery.
Indonesia is a vast country, spread over many islands. It is also a developing country, with limited enforcement capacity. Minister Pudjiastuti, working within President Joko Widodo’s cabinet, found an effective way to send a clear message to foreign vessels conducting IUU fishing in Indonesia’s waters: blow them up. After the engine and fuel are removed, seized vessels are packed with explosives and destroyed with considerable media attention.
While her high-profile actions against IUU fishing receive the most attention, she has been a lifelong advocate for ocean health, having ratified the Port State Measures Agreement, introduced minimum catch sizes for certain species, banned the use of harmful fishing gear that threatens the environment, established marine protected areas, and improved marine species protections.
Remarkably, Ms. Pudjiastuti was nominated for her Seafood Champion Award by a seafood processing company in Indonesia that was targeted by the minister. Nonetheless, they are fans. “We believe in her vision that by having a near-term ‘pain’, in the long run it will be very good for the whole environment of the ocean in Indonesia, and we will benefit.”