VIRAL: DiCaprio praises Indonesian Fisheries Minister, Susi catches airport nap after big UN speech

Left: Leonardo DiCaprio speaking at the UN. Right: Indonesian Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti catching a nap at New York’s Kennedy Airport before her flight back to Indonesia after speaking at the United Nations.
Left: Leonardo DiCaprio speaking at the UN. Right: Indonesian Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti catching a nap at New York’s Kennedy Airport before her flight back to Indonesia after speaking at the United Nations.

Maybe it’s because he’s a multi-millionaire playboy actor who happens to be one of the most famous people on the planet, but Leonardo DiCaprio environmental efforts seem to show he really cares about the planet – including Indonesia and its oceans. The As part of a video presentation at this year’s World Oceans Day event, DiCaprio singled out Indonesia’s minister of fisheries and marine resources, Susi Pudjiastuti, for her impressive work in protecting Indonesia’s oceans.

World Oceans Day is a UN-recognized event held every year on June 8 with the goal of raising awareness about the importance of marine ecosystems to the planet. The theme of this year’s event was “Our Oceans, Our Future” and DiCaprio prepared a special video, shown at UN headquarters in New York, outlining the dire threats the world’s oceans are facing.

“We have an obligation to make bold commitments and to take action quickly because we are truly running out of time. There is mounting evidence that our oceans are on the brink of collapse,” DiCaprio says at the start of the video, mentioning overfishing as one of those pieces of evidence.

Later in the video, DiCaprio mentions that government officials need to take responsibility for protecting the oceans under their jurisdiction, and, at about the 4-minute mark, Minister Susi gets a special shoutout from Leo for doing just that:


“Not long ago some 10,000 fishing vessels were illegally trespassing in Indonesian waters, decimating fish stocks and profiting while local fishermen suffered the impacts. Fisheries Minister Susi ramped up monitoring efforts, held illegal fishers accountable and is leading the way to a new era of transparency in fisheries management by making Indonesia’s Vessel Monitoring System available to the Global Fishing Watch platform, which my foundation was very proud to fund and launch,” DiCaprio said.

Leo didn’t mention that Susi famously sank many of those illegally fishing vessels (during explosive photo-op events), a move that has made her extremely popular in Indonesia while angering some neighboring countries. However, environmentalists have offered Susi near universal praise for her work tightening regulations, including forcing any licensed fishing vessel with gross catches of over 30 tons to participate in their Vessel Monitoring System (VMS).

Thanks to Susi’s efforts, Indonesia was actually the first country to share its VMS data with Global Fishing Watch (GFW), which was developed by Google, Skytruth and Oceana and funded by the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies. GFW is a transparent system that allows anybody with an internet connection to monitor the activities of licensed fishing vessels. The ultimate goal is to make it easier to monitor for overfishing and illegal poaching.

Susi is not resting on her laurels from Leo or anybody else. She was also in New York last week for the accompanying U.N. Ocean Conference where she urged the international body to declare illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUUF) an organized transnational crime. Susi argued that boat crews involved in IUUF “are involved not only in fish crimes but also smuggling drugs, weapons and other illegal economic products, even human trafficking. This disrupts domestic economic competition because the perpetrators have no cost and gain so much profit.”

It’s not clear if Susi’s efforts will result in new regulations from the UN. But she clearly gave it her all, as can be seen in this viral photo of her sleeping at the lounge of NYC’s Kennedy Airport waiting to fly back to Indonesia.


“This tough woman deserves to be given the title of “Mother Marine Indonesia”  poster Jim B Aditya wrote, noting that Susi had just spoken before the UN the day before and won praise from DiCaprio for inspiring the world through her efforts to fight illegal fishing.

In addition to getting the shout out from Leo, Susi also recently won “The Seafood Champion Award for Leadership” at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit for her fight against unsustainable fishing practices and slave labor. She’s also indisputably Indonesia’s coolest minister.

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