Indonesian Coral Export Suspension Update

The ongoing problems with exports of corals from Indonesia and Fiji highlights some of the key issues that our industry faces now and into the future. The suspension of coral exports from Indonesia and Fiji are both conservation driven and likely the result of the respective governments wanting to conserve coral reefs in their jurisdictions. While the intention is good, the decisions have had the probable unintended consequences of severe economic hardship for industry and their employees.

Indonesian exporters have not been able to export for over 2 months and this has cost the industry an estimated USD$2million in lost revenue and resulted in around 50% of the estimated 12,000 people employed in the industry losing their jobs. The situation in Fiji is undoubtedly worse with the export ban there being in place since the beginning of the year, and the majority of people once employed in the sustainable fishery in Fiji have lost their jobs with the major players under severe economic stress. The economic hardship and job losses this creates in both countries is a major concern and it is feared that many of the people who have lost their jobs will be forced to return to activities that are destructive to the reef in terms of using explosives and cyanide for fishing, as well as other destructive activities.

We have been informed by our Indonesian members that the export suspension will be discussed at a meeting between relevant government ministries on July 17. OFI, has submitted a letter in conjunction with OATA and EPO to the relevant Ministers to voice our concerns on the ongoing suspension. OFI will continue lobbying the Indonesian govenrment as well as other institutions that may be able to help resolve this issue and hope that exports will resume soon.

As news comes to hand we will update you.

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