Jakarta (Greeners) – Minister of Marine and Fisheries Affairs Susi Pudjiastuti underlines that overfishing on sharks and manta rays in Indonesia have led to declining population of the two species, adding that high prices have spiked the trade.
“When I was a child [there was a story that] when a whale shark came then it was a sign all fish are coming, so we celebrate it. If it was stranded in the coastal areas, it didn’t die because people pushed it back to the sea. But, recently, whale sharks have become commodity,” said Minister Susi at National Symposium on Sharks and Manta Rays, in Jakarta on Wednesday (28/3).
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Furthermore, Minister Susi urged local governments to open up communication with local people and fisheries consultants to ban sharks and manta rays fishing.
“I suggest we can also come up with actions and visit seafood restaurants to stop serve shark fin soup by handing out t-shirts or stickers, so it’s direct communication to customers,” she added.
On shark and manta rays trade, Head of Marine and Fisheries Affairs Ministry Research Center, Tony Ruchimat, said that the ministry had planned out national action plan for sharks and manta rays for 2018 to 2022. The five years plan comprises of strengthening database, regulation, and standing position in the Appendix Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) as both species have been categorized as Appendix II and mechanism use control.
Sustainable use which focusing more on conservation has been the recommended choice considering that sharks and manta rays have slow reproduction and growth rate.
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To protect sharks and manta rays, Ministry of Marine and Fisheries Affairs have issued several regulations, which dated back in 2013 to 2016.
“All of those regulations are expected to improve sharks and manta rays population so that our fishermen can make use of it. Hence, I hope that law enforcement can enforce policies on sharks and manta rays in Indonesia,” she added.
Reports by Dewi Purningsih