Indonesia aims for sustainable fish farming with “aquaculture villages”
- Indonesia plans to have a network of 136 dedicated aquaculture villages by the end of this year.
- The initiative is part of the government’s efforts to boost exports of its world-renowned aquaculture products, namely shrimp, lobster, crab and seaweed.
- Experts have welcomed the plan, but say it must be supported by sound environmental planning, in particular avoiding the clearing of mangrove forests and ensuring proper waste management.
- Indonesia is a major exporter of farmed seafood, but fish farming in the country has long been at the expense of carbon-rich mangrove forests and other important coastal ecosystems.
DENPASAR / JAKARTA – The Indonesian government plans to establish a network of dozens of villages with aquaculture farms by the end of the year, with the aim of boosting post-pandemic economic recovery by meeting global demand for farmed seafood.
Indonesia’s Fisheries Ministry said in December that it had established six of these so-called aquaculture villages and would add 130 more by the end of 2022. The villages will grow high-value aquaculture products, including fish. shrimp, lobster, crab and seaweed.
“Increasing the production of raw materials for export comes first,” TB Haeru Rahayu, general manager of aquaculture fisheries at the ministry, told an online event. He added that the program would strengthen the country’s food security and create new jobs.
At the start of his second term in 2019, President Joko Widodo ordered the Ministry of Fisheries to stimulate the country’s aquaculture productivity. Global aquaculture production increased by 527% between 1990 and 2018, with Indonesia among the world’s top producers. The country’s aquaculture production in the third quarter of 2021 was 12.25 million metric tonnes, an increase of 6% over the same period in 2020. The aquaculture sector contributed the equivalent of 1.94 million metric tonnes in non-tax government revenue for the year to November 2021, well above the target figure of $ 1.39 million, according to the ministry.
While Indonesia is one of the world’s largest exporters of frozen seawater shrimp, it lags behind its neighbors in exports of freshwater shrimp and fresh, salted or smoked shrimp. Some of its main export species include the Asian tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) and white leg shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei).
Experts have praised the government’s efforts to boost the aquaculture sector, but say it must ensure sustainable environmental planning, especially in terms of land clearing and waste management for farms.
The development of aquaculture farms in Indonesia has typically resulted in the clearing of carbon-rich mangrove forests to build shrimp and fish ponds, said Abdul Halim, executive director of the Center for Maritime Studies for Humanity. Over the past three decades, Indonesia has lost almost half of its mangrove area, according to the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR). In 2021, President Widodo has set an ambitious goal of replanting mangroves on 600,000 hectares (1.5 million acres) of degraded coastline by 2024.
Abdul said the government must also be able to address the waste management issues long associated with aquaculture farms, which typically dump waste into the sea or lakes. The Ministry of Planning in 2019 announcement that 15 lakes were in “critical” condition due to environmental degradation, mainly caused by human activities, such as pollution, logging and destructive fishing practices. Recurrent massive fish mortalities are frequently reported events in some lakes.
Abdi Suhufan, national coordinator of the Destructive Fishing Watch (DFW) NGO in Indonesia, said the government must address fundamental challenges facing the country’s aquaculture sector, such as having a detailed map of farms, a clearly defined status for the land and good water management. .
Revitalizing the shrimp farming industry has been a perennial government priority for years, with an emphasis on preventing mangrove deforestation. However, there has been little to no progress on this front, Abdi said.
âThere has to be a reformative change in the aquaculture sector if it is to meet productivity targets,â he said.
FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this article. If you want to post a public comment, you can do so at the bottom of the page.