Indonesia Thursday released 18 more Vietnamese fishermen it had arrested for illegally fishing in its waters, the ninth batch to be released this year.
Hoang Anh Tuan, Vietnam’s ambassador to Indonesia, the embassy has intervened to enable nearly 80 fishermen to return home this year.
More than 100 others remain incarcerated but half of them would return home soon, Tuan told news website Zing.
He said helping release Vietnamese fishermen has been a priority for his embassy.
But the mission has become more difficult as Indonesia has begun to crack down on illegal fishing, increasing patrolling and punishing intruders severely.
“There is no sign that illegal fishing in Indonesia by Vietnamese will reduce soon,” Tuan said.
Indonesia has been treating arrested fishermen humanely, but that might change as the country has pledged tougher measures such as sinking any intruding ship, regardless of nationality.
It sank 13 boats from Vietnam and 10 from Malaysia on April 5.