Indonesia has embarked on task of counting its islands in order to better protect its territory and marine resources. It hopes to locate and name additional 1,700 islands in time for UN Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names in August. Indonesia wants to claim sovereignty and fishing rights in waters surrounding islands, many of which its neighbors also claim. Indonesian government says illegal fishing in its waters is costing billions of dollars in lost revenue each year. fisheries spokeswoman told BBC: "Sixty per cent of islands in Indonesia don't have name or officially have legal status, so they can easily be taken or claimed by another country."
Indonesia is world's largest archipelago. At last UN conference on geographical names in 2012, Indonesia registered 13,466 islands. law in 1996 estimated that number of islands was 17,508. The UN Convention on Law of the Sea defines island as, " naturally formed area of land, surrounded by water, which is still exposed at high tide". spokesman from Indonesia's Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries explained scale of the task the counting team had. He said: "We have to visit every one of these islands, and then we note coordinates, name, the meaning of name, the history of the land and describe landscape and its geographical history…all that in great detail."