Indonesia bans exports of baby lobster

Published on
June 21, 2021
A clear bag full of lobster larvae

Indonesia’s Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry has issued a regulation to ban the exports of lobster seeds.

The ban is expected to help boost domestic aquaculture of lobster and bring about economic benefits for Indonesia, Indonesia Acting Director-General for Aquaculture TB Haeru Rahayu said, according to Tempo.

Minister Sakti Wahyu Trenggono, who was appointed in December 2020, said in a statement that the ban is one of his priorities to protect local marine resources.

“This regulation is one of my promises after being sworn in as minister of maritime affairs and fisheries in December 2020. At that time, I emphasized that lobster hatchlings as one of Indonesia's marine resources must be cultivated in Indonesian territory. The cultivation must also be carried out in the province where they are caught,” Trenggono said.

The ban officially puts an end to a controversial policy by former fisheries minister Edhy Prabowo. In May 2020, Prabowo implemented a controversial rule allowing the resumption of lobster seed exports, reversing a 2016 ban imposed by Prabowo’s predecessor, Susi Pudjiastuti. Less than two months after the decision, his ministry awarded exports licenses to 31 companies out of the 100 that were seeking permits.

In early 2020, an investigation was initiated into possible ties between Prabowo and several local exporters of lobster larvae, finding that owners and senior officials of many of those companies are members of the Great Indonesia Movement Party, or the Gerindra – where Prabowo was and remains a senior member.

Prabowo and other officials were detained at Indonesia’s Soekarno-Hatta Airport on 25 November, 2020, as they were returning from a trip to the United States.

In April, Prabowo was charged for receiving money from a number of companies in exchange for lobster larvae export permits.  

Photo courtesy of the Indonesian Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

Reporting from Hanoi, Vietnam

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