Indonesian coral export situation.

Tony Thompson

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Jul 17, 2016
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North East England
Hi I thought I would pass on some news from one of my coral suppliers in the UK. (Reefworks). No official confirmation of the contents of the statement. Please Use information at one's discretion.

Indonesian coral export situation.

I thought it time to fill everyone in on the situation with coral exports from Indonesia.

Firstly, there is not really a ban on the export of corals, there are many different government departments involved in the production of documents for the movement of corals within Indonesia itself and their export internationally. One of these departments – a fairly big one, has been taking objection with the way things have been happening within the industry for a number of years.

It’s all a bit complicated with so many departments, but I will try to break it down a bit so you can know the situation and how complicated it all is! Even though I am currently living out here in Indonesia I am not sure of all the in’s and out’s…………but then nobody else seems to be either!

Here are some of the departments involved in this little pickle:

The CITES commission, they are not really involved to be honest, they don’t have a problem with the export of corals from Indonesia and strangely seem to have been fairly uninvolved with the whole thing. The only thing that has happened is that the government department that issues the CITES export permits has stopped issuing them a couple of months ago until the other departments get things sorted out.
AKKII, this is the Indonesian Coral and Shellfish Association, they represent all of Indonesia’s coral export companies. They are also responsible for deciding which export companies get what quota for CITES export permits once the countries annual quota has been set.

BKPIM – this is the department that publishes the Health Certificates for the export of corals (and other animals) when an export application is made by an exporter. Despite most of the rest of the world not requiring Health Certificate documents to import corals, Indonesia requires exporting companies to have Health Certificates for the corals to leave Indonesia. To obtain a HC an exporting company must send a sample of the corals to be exported to a veterinary clinic for inspection and approval. Providing everything is in order the BKPIM will issue a HC to the exporter for that shipment of corals. This HC is needed to get the shipment through the final procedure at the departing airport – quarantine.

Surprisingly, not only is a Health certificate needed to export corals internationally from any airport in Indonesia, but one is also needed to move corals from one region of Indonesia to another. So to move corals from a coral farm in Java to a facility in Bali, the coral farmer must have a HC for that shipment.

PRL – Pengelolaan Ruang Laut, this is the unit directorate that is responsible for protecting land and sea.

LIPI - Lembaga Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia, this is the government authority for scientific research.

KKP – This is the Maritime and Fisheries Ministry. This is the big one and is headed by Bu Susi, she is the new boss of the KKP and looks like she will be running for presidency in the future. It is Bu Susi that the current situation has been emanating from. She is very big into conservation and is very tough on those that flout the laws. She has been blowing up illegal fishing boats, jailing Indonesian pop stars for riding on the back of Whale Sharks…..basically she is very much into conservation and rightly so!
Forestry Ministry – I believe they are mainly responsible for issuing licenses to companies that wish to export corals etc.

PSDL - I am not entirely sure who this government agency is but they keep cropping up!

KKHL – Konservasi dan Keanekaragaman Hayati Laut – Department of Conservation and Marine Biodiversity

The following departments are under the control of the KKP:


In 2016 the KKP warned AKKII that they were not entirely happy with the way that some things were happening within the coral export industry. There were a number of laws that were being flouted, in particular getting correct documents to move corals around within Indonesia itself. Following that there were a number of cases where fishermen and coral exporting companies were caught moving corals from one region of Indonesia to another without correct documentation. In particular a case where a company was putting boxes of corals on busses to transport them from one region of Indonesia to another without Health Certificates. The bus would drop the boxes off on the road side and the company involved came and collected them. The police were involved and they were prosecuted for smuggling. There was no conviction, probably some undisclosed ‘fines’ and the case was dismissed!

Due to AKKII and the industry not sorting out the issues and some other indiscretions within the industry, in May 2018 Bu Susi head of the KKP instructed the BKPIM to stop issuing Health Certificates for the export of corals. So despite exporters having all other documentation they needed, licenses, CITES permits etc, because they could no longer get health certificates their shipments could not pass through the final stage of export at the airport – quarantine. Ironic as no other western country requires Health Certificates for the import of corals.

Following this ban on HC, AKKII made attempts to have meetings with Bu Susi head of the KKP to plead their case. To this date Bu Susi has refused to have any meetings with AKKII. There have been some meetings with members of Bu Susi’s office but to no avail.

In July 2018 AKKII had a meeting with various government bodies including the Maritime Ministry and presented their case to them. They took the tack of explaining to the government how much revenue the government would lose in taxes if the ban on Health Certificates continued. The government requested data on the sustainability of the industry and this was presented by Professor Suharsonoi (recognise the name?) and stated the continuing harvest of corals from Indonesian waters presented no significant threat to natural populations. The Maritime Ministry presented a recommendation to the KKP to start re-issuing Health Certificates. The KKP did not respond.

It has been interesting that the AKKII has at no time informed the KKP of the coral culture Industry in Indonesia, in fact the KKP has seemed completely unaware that there is a sustainable coral culture sector to the export industry. This is especially strange as in 2012 Indonesia’s coral culture industry was listed as one of Indonesia approved and recommended industries.

It would seem that Bu Susi and hence the KKP is against the harvest of wild corals from Indonesia, it would also seem that they want complete control of the coral export industry to fall under the authority of the KKP – not just the issuing of Health Certificates. The KKP has also been looking at the sustainability of wild coral harvesting in Indonesia. There has been a recommendation within the KKP itself that coral reefs must have 70% coral coverage for harvesting to be non-detrimental. A survey a couple of years ago of large areas of Indonesia’s coral reefs showed that they only had 50% coverage. If the KKP makes a statement about the necessary coverage of 70% then the wild collection of corals from Indonesian reefs will stop indefinitely. There also seems to have been a statement from the KKP that live rock harvesting from Indonesia’s reefs must stop, due to the potential for juvenile corals and other organisms to be on them. Finally though there seems to be some feedback from some areas of the KKP that they do not have any issues with coral culture.

So where are we now?

On the 25th of September there was a meeting between AKKII, parliament and numerous other government departments, the PRL, LIPI, PSDL, some members of the KKP (but not Bu Susi). The general result from this meeting was that there is not a problem with the coral export industry and there was a subsequent recommendation from the DPR (Indonesian senator) to the KKP that they should re-open the way for issuing Health Certificates. So far, Bu Susi and the KKP has not responded.
AKKII is now attempting to use the recommendations from this meeting to get the BKPIM to start issuing HC again even though no official response from KKP (head of BKPIM) has been given.

Health Certificates must be issued from each exporter’s local regency, there is not one head office that issues them all.

Last night, on the 1st of October one regency, Mataram on the island of Lombok issued a statement that they were starting to issue HC again. This does not mean that corals can be exported internationally yet. There is only one company on Lombok (although many coral farming sites) and they send corals from there to exporters in Bali, Jakarta etc. As I mentioned before they need HC to move corals around Indonesia.

It is hoped that in the next couple of weeks there will either be a positive statement from the KKP or that each regency will start issuing HC again despite no response from the KKP. It is always possible that the KKP will make a counter statement or take action to further prevent the issuing of Health Certificates. However progress seems like it is being made and we are hopeful that in the next few weeks we will be able to start importing from Indonesia again.


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Apr 22, 2014
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Based off this information, it looks like the AKKII were not following protocols or addressing them. KKP pretty much shut them down after a formal warning. It wasn't so much of a coral sustainability issue but more of a follow the law and protocol issue.

I was hearing that exports were available again and then some were saying it wasn't at the same time. If this information is true, it would make a good bit of sense.

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