Coral Magazine received a letter from the Indonesian Coral Shell and Ornamental Fish Association (AKKII) in Jakarta which, “…outlines the developing situation in Indonesia and appears to confirm a rumor that exports of both wild and aquacultured corals are being closed indefinitely.”
Though there are often ecological reasons for doing this it also can come from political pressures. But there is an economic side to this as well. A great number of people obtain their living from the coral and fish industry in Indonesia. This is especially true of poor villages and outlying areas that have no other industry. Of course this will also have a dramatic economic impact on local fish and reef stores around the world. A lot of such places are “mom and pop” places with tight profit margins and high overhead who do it for the love of the hobby more than the cash. You aren’t going to get rich with your own little fish store.
Unfortunately the letter doesn’t go into much detail though it does give a few hints. It reads that the order comes from the government’s Indonesian Fishery Ministry and says they are not going to issue health certificates for coral exports. That makes me wonder if there is some issue with the coral that they don’t want to export. Perhaps a disease or parasite. Or perhaps, as the letter hints at it is just one government agency not knowing what the other was doing and getting a little put out by that.
If you have ever looked into the industry in Indonesia you know they really do a fine job with protecting their reefs and not over fishing or over harvesting.
The letter concludes, “We plea to all of our customers and stakeholders around the world to be calm and supportive to our cause for the continuing sustainable harvest and export of live ornamental corals in Indonesia.”
I certainly hope they get it worked out and that it doesn’t last long. We can expect to see an increase in prices in the United States as a result as current imported stocks become depleted with no restocking in sight. Couple this with the issues from the Hawaiian government and the hobby is looking pretty bleak right now. I still maintain a sense of optimism though as we learn more and more about aquaculture corals and captive bred fish.
We will continue to report as word comes in from Indonesia and contacts in the livestock trade.
Source: Breaking News: Indonesia Halts Coral Exports