Indonesia is far and away the largest supplier of beautiful and diverse coral for the global marine aquarium trade than anywhere else in the world. live corals as so inextricably associated with Indonesia that when we were a wee young reefer, we thought ‘Jakarta’ was the company that collected and sold corals to the LFS.
Now it is common knowledge that corals are coming from all over Indonesia, including Jakarta, Java, Bali, Sulawesi and more. But some recent comments coming from the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Minister and Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) have us concerned about the future of being able to simply get live corals from Indonesia.
According to a short piece by the Jakarta Globe, the BKPM will “no longer issue permits for businesses that cultivate and distribute coral for aquarium decorations”, based on recommendations by Fisheries Minister Susi Pudjiastuti. We don’t know the severity of this statement, or how much authority the BKPM has to single-handedly stop issuing permits, and whether this is in strict regard to new business permits, or whether it affects all CITES permits for coral collection and exports.
We’ve taken for granted how much coral is imported from Indonesia for decades, and how easily it is to get just about species we want from this biodiverse region of the coral triangle. We can imagine that Indonesia has some alarm at the sheer volume of corals being collected and exported from the country, but to specifically lumping the ban on cultivated coral seems counterintuitive to developing sustainable resources. At the moment we simply read this article as a one-off comment, perhaps it should be judged as conservative hard-lining and saber rattling, but it could portend a future of things to come and we’ll be sure to keep a finger on the pulse of what Indonesian officials have to say about their live coral export trade in the future. [Jakarta Globe]