Jakarta (ANTARA) - The Marine Affairs and Fisheries Ministry has encouraged farmers and businessmen in the sector to develop eel farming and explore its potential in export market.

"We need an agreement between the central government, local governments, businessmen, farmers, researchers, academicians and environmental observers to establish a commitment develop accountable and sustainable eel farming," the ministry's Director General of Aquaculture Slamet Soebjakto said in a statement here on Sunday.

The ministry would continue to encourage development of eel farming but it would need sustainable management to preserve eel habitat, since the seeds were captured in the wild to replenish the stock on the farms.

The government has issued a Marine Affairs and Fisheries Minister Regulation no. 19/2012 on ban to export juvenile eel weight less than 150 grams.

"The use of environment-friendly net and young eel for stock at required size would become one factor behind the success of an eel farm," he said.

Eel spent most of its life in fresh water, from the phase of glass eel, elver to mature eel. They will return to the sea to breed and after that they will die.

Soebjakto said, a species of eel Anguilla bicolor bicolor can be found in the waters off Mentawai trench in Sumatra, while Anguilla marmorata can be found in the western part of North Pacific.

The species can also be found in Pelabuhan Ratu and Cilacap in the southern coast of Java along the year and will reach its peak in December to February. Most of the species are Anguilla bicolor bicolor and few are Anguilla marmorata.

Eel production in Indonesia in 2019 has reached 515.18 tons, increased 59 percent compared to production in the previous year.

Head of agribusiness firm Aquaculture JAPFA Group Ardi Budiono said the company has held partnership with some local businessmen to grow eel from the stage of glass eel to elver also known as shirasu process.

The process will take some 4-5 months for the young eel to reach the weight of 2-3 gram.

"We will buy the juvenile to grow them further until they reach the ideal size of 250 grams for harvesting. Then we will send them to processing factory to make ready-to-eat product," Ardi said.

JAPFA Group produced more than 100 tons of eel per year on the average or some 380 tons during the past three years.

Eel export in 2019 has recorded at Rp437 billion. In January to June 2020, the export has reached Rp216 billion.

The major producers of eel are European countries, Scandinavian countries, China, Australia and Morocco, with the largest single producer being Japan.

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Translator: M Razi Rahman, Sri Haryati
Editor: Rahmad Nasution
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