Indonesian waters are identified as the habitat and ecosystem of tropical eel, starting froma the west coast of Sumatra, South Java, Kalimantan, to Sulawesi, Maluku and Papua waters. According to Arai (2016), Indonesia has 10 species of eel, but what is quite popular for the Japanese market is the Anguilla bicolor bicolor considering the similarity of taste with Anguilla japonica.
Eel may not be well known to seafood consumers in Indonesia instead, this fishery commodity is very popular in East Asia region, especially in Japan using kabayaki as the trade name (Japan consumes up to 70% of the world’s eel production). The high demand for kabayaki creates a considerable pressure for local Japanese eel A. japonica resources.
Realizing the fact that eel population has declined in Japan, many business players are aware of the importance of providing environmentally friendly fisheries products. One of them is PT Iroha Sidat Indonesia. PT Iroha Sidat Indonesia is one of eel exporter in the form of kabayaki to Japan and a member of Seafood Savers.
Tracking The Glass Eel’s Source
Ensuring the source of glass eel used by industry is one of the most important in providing traceability. The practice of eel fisheries when referring to MSC standards is classified as enhanced fisheries because it natural seed for cultivation practices. In order to complete all basic information, on 12-20 July 2018 a preliminary assessment of glass eel fishing practice of PT Iroha Sidat Indonesia market chain was held in Sukabumi, West Java.
The practice of glass eel fishing in Sukabumi is done in several river estuary areas, with the main location is at the riverbank of Cimandiri River, Sukabumi by using anco (lift net) and sodok (push net) with the number of active fishers is 100-200 people, while in peak season (October – April) it could reach up to 300-400 people. At Sungai Cimandiri the rate of glass eel catching in famine season ranges from 20-40 gr/fishers/night and reaches 50-100 gr/fishers/night in the peak season. The catch result will be temporarily accommodated to middlemen before being sent to the company via land and air transportation.
Some identified regulatory instruments from the government that support management are Marine and Fisheries Ministerial Regulation No. 19 of 2012 concerning Prohibition of Extracting Glass on from the Territory of the Republic of Indonesia to outside the territory of the Republic of Indonesia (eel under the size of 150 g is prohibited to be exported), Regulations of Regent of Sukabumi No. 25 of 2018 concerning Management and Protection of Eel Resources, as well as Circular Letter of the Regent of Sukabumi (on 29 March 2018) related to production record and restocking obligation of eel broodstock for industries.
“The demand for glass eel has begun to increase significantly since 2009 until now. We do hope that our glass eel fisheries will remain sustainable for the future as they have become the livelihood of fishers. Let’s support our government and the entire community’s effort in maintaining this resource,”stated Mr. Yayan Supendi, a fisher and middlemen in Tegal Buleud, Sukabumi Regency, West Java.