"When it comes to ornamental fish, we are the best in the world," Deputy Coordination of Natural Resources and Services at the Maritime Coordinating Ministry, Agung Kuswandono, stated at a press conference here on Wednesday.
According to Kuswandono, with 400 species of freshwater ornamental fish and 650 species of sea water ornamental fish, the business potential of ornamental fish in Indonesia is very large, but its management still needs to be addressed.
At present, Singapore is better known as the hub of ornamental fish areas in Southeast Asia.
The value of Indonesian ornamental fish exports to the world in 2016 amounted to US$24.64 million, while Singapore`s ornamental fish exports in the same period were valued at $42.97 million.
Kuswandono believed that Indonesia could continue to develop its potential, especially as more foreigners prefer ornamental fish from tropical waters.
"We want to be the largest exporter of ornamental fish in the world," he remarked, adding that sustainable preservation of ornamental fish deserves to be a national issue.
Kuswandono stated that one way to develop ornamental fish in the country is to designate one species as a national mascot.
In addition to creating a national mascot, the government is currently drafting a legal umbrella for the National Action Plan for the Development of Ornamental Fish Industry.
The National Action Plan is expected to be one of the guidelines in the efforts to develop ornamental fish in Indonesia.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Indonesian Koi Fish Lovers Association, Sugiharto Budiono, stated that Nusatic 2018 is the largest ornamental fish exhibition in the world.
"In terms of quantity, this exhibition is the biggest in the world," Budiono noted.
He estimated that the ornamental fish contest at Nusatic 2018 would be participated by around 3.5 thousand participants, which is more compared to three thousand participants last year.
Meanwhile, the number of visitors is expected to be around 30 thousand people, or an increase of about twice compared to that in 2017.
The exhibition will also feature a business forum, which brings together international ornamental fish experts to discuss the global potential of ornamental fish in 2019.
Reporting by Muhammad Razi Rahman
Editing by Libertina, Yoseph Hariyadi