Lobster seed export policy has been massively discussed lately in Indonesia following its surrounding controversy. According to Dr. Ir. Alim Isnansetyo, M.Sc, as a lecturer at the Department of Fisheries, Faculty of Agriculture UGM, this lobster issue has been around for quite some time actually. It has been gradually exposed during the reign of former Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Susi Pujiastuti, and is reaching its peak under the now-stepped-down minister, Edy Prabowo, who then issued a policy on the lobster seed export opening.
"The opening of this export tap actually still raises the pros and cons. Issues become more intense following the sting operation (OTT) of Edy Prabowo by The Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for the alleged graft in the lobster seed export case. People are shocked and begin to question whether to stop or rearrange the policy regarding this matter," he said on Wednesday (2/12) at the UGM campus.
According to him, the policy of continuing or stopping the lobster seed exports is not easy to answer even more to do. It involves a range of multidimensional aspects, from social, economics to politics.
It also relates to the aquaculture technology, conflicts of interest of various stakeholders, law foundation and enforcement, supply chain, and others. Even so, everything must adhere to the principles of fishery resource utilization whose main objective is for the welfare of the people.
"Welfare, in this case, is greatly addressed to the fishermen and lobster cultivators without forgetting the need to preserve sustainable resources. The main idea is to utilize the abundant amount of lobster seeds in Indonesia as a gift from God Almighty," he said.
Isnan admitted that there are disagreements in society today. On one hand, some parties want to stop the lobster seed exports. They believe lobsters need to be protected and allowed to live in their habitat to a certain extent before being caught.
On the other hand, some believe this export still needs to continue, but it has to undergo a certain re-management. Utilizing lobster resources will increase both the welfare of the fishermen/those involved in the lobster business as well as increase foreign exchange earnings.
"Lobster is a renewable fishery resource, therefore a strategy for optimal and sustainable use is needed. It is even better if the management is carried out in ways to create independence for lobster aquaculture in Indonesia," he explained.
Isnan added that this independence is related to resource management, lobster aquaculture, both hatchery and rearing, as well as the independence of the lobster business-based socio-economic governance. Admittedly or not, lobster aquaculture in Indonesia is way behind compared to the one practiced in Vietnam because practitioners and researchers in Indonesia have not been given the space to develop lobster aquaculture technology in recent years.
"If lobster is seen as an important commodity by the government, this should be a priority for research so that it is included in national priority research schemes, instead of being hindered as has been the case so far," he said.
If necessary, he added, Indonesia needs to learn from Vietnam through ways of cooperation and transfer of technology thus the lobster aquaculture will rapidly develop in Indonesia. In parallel with the development of lobster aquaculture technology, lobster seeds can be exported in strict quotas based on scientific studies, while still maintaining the domestic demand as per the development of lobster aquaculture in Indonesia.
Catching seeds and exporting with strict quotas must be under clear and strong legal protection followed by law enforcement on all fronts as well as the integrity of all stakeholders. State-Owned Enterprises (BUMN) in fisheries can play a significant role in this export trade system, unlike the current situation in which many private companies are granted permits that leads to many conflicts of interest.
"Basically, in the future, aquaculture with a wide variety of species will provide contributions that exceed the catch, as targeted by the FAO. Therefore, the upcoming lobster production depends on the lobster aquaculture that is supported by reliable hatcheries," he concluded.
Author: Agung Nugroho
Photo: Bangka Pos-Tribunnews.com
Translator: Salma F