Indonesia New Lobster Export Policy

Authored by : Fitri Aulia | 21 October 2020

In May 2020, Edhy Prabowo (Current Minister of the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries) officially revoked the regulation on the export ban on lobster seeds (known locally as benur) that the previous minister (Susi Pudjiastuti) had made. It is marked under the new ministerial regulation (Permen), namely Permen KP No.12 / Permen-KP / 2020 concerning the Management of Lobster (Panulirus spp.), Crab (Scylla spp.), and Rajungan (Portunus spp.) in the Territory of the Republic of Indonesia.


The New Regulations

This policy change is enough to leave a hot debate all across the country. One might say that it is quite controversial, given the regulation made by the previous minister emphasizing a ban on the export of lobster seeds in 2016 was later changed to the contrary.


Minister Edhy Prabowo (Source : KKP)


Minister Edhy claimed to has several reasons to consider these policy changes. 

Quoting an interview held by one of Indonesia’s media (Kompas Media), Edhy said that the egg production of lobsters in Indonesia is an opportunity to take advantage of. According to him, lobsters in Indonesia can produce approximately 27 billion lobster eggs if it were to be based on the assumption that one lobster is able to produce 500,000 eggs. 

With these much amount of egg production, increasing export becomes one of a profitable choice. He claimed that the policy change has carried out solely for the welfare of the people. Based on Edhy’s assessment, Edhy found that 80 percent of the lobster seeds imported to Vietnam from Singapore came from Indonesia. This has made the price of lobster seeds increased up to Rp. 139,000 per seed from Rp. 50,000 to Rp. 70,000 per seed. This is considered to be beneficial for the local fishermen whose lives depend on it.

Minding that he also claimed that the survival rate of lobster eggs in the wild reached only 0.02 percent, which means that for every 20,000 lobster eggs, only one egg will reach maturity. In other words, he reckon that releasing lobsters into the wild is actually harmful for both of its own wellbeing as well as our economy. To further add, he denied that the lifting ban of lobster seed exports could threaten the sustainability of the ecosystem. Thus, legalizing exports is considered useful for closing the gap of possibilities for smuggling activities.


On the contrary

Responding to this new policy, in an online discussion held in June 2020, Susi Pudjiastuti stated that the policy she previously made on banning lobster seed exports was based on the consideration that there is still no adequate technology for lobster cultivation as well as the sustainability of resources. Limiting lobster fishing is believed to be the best way to maintain the availability of this resource in Indonesian waters. 

Conservationists and experts have widely criticized the new policy changes, saying the lack of monitoring and law enforcement in the export chain, coupled with inadequate infrastructure to develop a viable lobster aquaculture, poses a threat to the existence of lobsters and local fishermen in Indonesia. They have called on the government to instead prioritize a sustainable lobster aquaculture in the country, involving the local traditional fishermen rather than intensify exports activities. 


About Indonesia Benur 

Indonesia is one of the largest lobster seed producing countries in the world. Among its diverse types, Panulirus spp. is the most commonly commodities found in the waters.

Lobster seed (Source : KKP)


Indonesia first started their lobster cultivation in 2000. In this matters, Indonesia lags behind Vietnam (one of its biggest competitor in Southeast Asia), which started lobster cultivation since 1992. 

The main lobster markets export of Indonesia is China. Meanwhile in Southeast Asia, Indonesia main lobster exports destination are Singapore. 


Current Status Quo

There is a rising demand of this commodities in 2020 following a huge increase in the sector of export activities months after the policy change. Quoting from Tempo Indonesia (a nation local media) basing on data by BPS, In July 2020, lobster seed exports reached US$3.67 million with 1,789 kg, soaring from US$112,900 in June 2020 . The August export figure even jumped by 75.2 percent from that of July 2020. This shows a tremendous improvement in just a short period of time. 


To Reach the Environmental Sustainibility 

Regardless of the distinct opinion happening all across the country, one must make sure to  not only emphasize the economical matters from the fisheries sector, but also to put concern on how to maintain the sustainability of nature and environment.

To talk about sustainability, there is a strong interlinkage between the fisheries sector and the UN Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs).

First of, it is pretty obvious the production of both wild capture and aquaculture generates income to support local and national economies for that it also provide employment opportunites in this sector, thus working towards objectives of the SDG 1 (No Poverty).

 It also improves the nutrition and safeguards for food security and ensures healthy lives of many people, reaching the objectives of SDG 2 (No Hunger) and SDG 3 (Good Health) respectively. But what it is to be highlighted here, is that the exporting activities must be balanced with support for the cultivation process, especially for small seeds.

 In case of Indonesia, the government provides a number of conditions that must be implemented in the current management of lobster fisheries so that overfishing does not occur, such as setting lobster seeds catch limits.

 In present, there is an urgent need to expand programs, initiatives and projects by all stakeholders to improve fisheries and aquaculture management and conservation to address the sustainability of environment for it is as well aligned with the SDG 14 (Life Below Water). 


Kompas Media. 2020. Kata Edhy, Larangan Ekspor Benih Lobster Banyak Merugikan Masyarakat. July 10.

Mongabay. 2020. Ketika Susi Pudjiastuti Ikut Bahas Polemik Ekspor Benih Lobster. July 28.

Tempo. 2020. Lobster Seed Exports Jump 75 Percent in August: BPS . September 21.

Tridge. 2018. Top Exporting Countries of Lobster.


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