The Indonesian Government recently pledged to offer further protection for endangered shark species by reducing fishing and exports of shark fins, without overly harming the livelihoods of fishermen.

According to Agus Dermawan, Director for Fish Conservation in Indonesia ’s Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), Indonesia is considering a plan to impose quotas on shark fishing, though it will be difficult to enforce.

To adopt the quota, the government will issue a new regulation by the end of the year, he said, adding that the ministry will also work with the Indonesian Institute of Sciences to define additional species of sharks which should be placed on the country's list of protected species.

Indonesia is now one of the largest exporters of shark fins in the world, the Statistics Indonesia office said.
A survey conducted by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations in 2010 showed that Indonesia’s shark fishing volume was over 109,000 tonnes, a remarkable increase from the 70,000 tonnes in 2000.

Though Indonesia joined the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in 1973, violations against the convention are widespread in the country due to the increasing demand of shark fins in international markets. Shark fishing and shark fin sales are the main income source of almost 2.2 million Indonesian fishermen.

Chairman of the Indonesian Fisheries Product Processing and Marketing Association, Thomas Darmawan said he supports the idea of enhancing protection for endangered species of sharks, but disagrees with the government’s ban on the shark trade.

He stated that the ban will not enable the government to efficiently supervise and control shark fishing and trade.-VNA