Indonesia Bans All Coral Exports



Indonesia bans all coral exports
10th July 2018

By Sandra Pearce
The Indonesian government has issued a blanket ban on all exports of corals, stunning the global ornamental fish industry.
According to Indonesian Coral Shell and Ornamental Fish Association (AKKII) managing director Dirga Singkarru, the decision resulted from efforts to synchronise regulations between the Environment and Forestry Ministry and the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, reports The Jakarta Post.
Exporters and suppliers have expressed concerns over the ban’s potential impacts on the supply chain.
“Exporters have many employees and also many suppliers with many fishermen. I think it’s a very big problem,” said Wesen Wirawan, owner of coral export business Golden Marindo.
Ornamental Fish International (OFI) president Shane Willis said the ban would have a devastating impact. He said: “Within two months, this is going to have very big financial impacts on Indonesian exporters. Six months, it will start to really destroy the market. And in a year or two, it’s over. I don’t think the industry would come back from that. Everyone who buys coral from Indonesia will now go elsewhere.”
The effects on retail shops in regions such as Europe that are supplied by Indonesian coral are substantial, with many importers receiving weekly shipments. 
David Nicholson, from Independent Aquatic Imports in London, said Indonesia was its main supplier for corals and the ban would require them to adjust their business. 
He said: “Eighty percent of the corals we bring in come from Indonesia. If that was taken away then it will affect us, but we can get coral from elsewhere. It won’t kill our industry, but it’ll make it a lot more challenging.”
Another potential knock-on effect is on Indonesian exporters of ornamental fish and their collectors. Importers often buy coral and ornamental fish together to reduce transportation costs, with the ban on one likely causing reduced demand for the other and further drift toward other countries’ exporters. Indonesia is one of the biggest suppliers of marine ornamental fish in the world, and an estimated 12,000 people are directly employed in its coral industry. 
Shane believes the ban could undermine efforts to encourage the sustainable management of coral reefs. “A lot of people who are now employed coral farmers are actually fishermen who used to use cyanide and other destructive practices. 
“They’re now helping the environment, but they’re prevented from doing that and have no alternatives. So will they go back to some of these destructive fishing practices? It’s possible. People are going to do what they have to do to survive.”