Disentangling the shark and ray trade in Indonesia to reconcile conservation with food security

Published on
10. December 2020

Disentangling the shark and ray trade in Indonesia to reconcile conservation with food security

Andhika P. Prasetyo, Allan D. McDevitt, Joanna M. Murray, Jon Barry, Firdaus Agung, Efin Muttaqin, Stefano Mariani


Indonesian marine resources are among the richest on the planet, sustaining highly diverse fisheries and includes the largest elasmobranch landings in the world, making Indonesia one of the world’s largest exporters of shark and ray products. Socio-economic and food security considerations pertaining to Indonesian communities add further layers of complexity to the management and conservation of these vulnerable species. This study investigates how shark and ray trade flows in and out of Indonesia and attempts to examine patterns and drivers of the current scenario. We identify substantial discrepancies between reported landings and declared exports, and between Indonesian exports in shark fin and meat products and the corresponding figures reported by importing countries. These mismatches are estimated to amount to over $43.6M and $20.9M for fins and meat, respectively, for the period between 2012 and 2018. Although the declared exports are likely to be an underestimation because of significant unreported or illegal trading activities, we find that domestic consumption of shark and ray products plays a significant role in explaining these discrepancies due to the increasing local demand for meat. The study also unearths a general scenario of unsystematic data collection and lack of granularity of product terminology, which is inadequate to meet the challenges of over-exploitation, illegal trade and food security in Indonesia. We discuss how to improve data transparency to support trade regulations and governance actions, by improving inspection measures, and conserving elasmobranch populations without neglecting the socio-economic dimension of this complex system.

bioRxiv, DOI: 10.1101/2020.12.08.416214


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