Fish exporters warned to evaluate procedures
The government has called on fish exporting companies to evaluate their export mechanisms to anticipate tight regulations enforced by importing countries.
Head of the provincial Agency of Fishery and Marine Affairs, I Made Gunaja, said many importing countries applied extremely tight regulations concerning quality, including the implementation of the HACCP (Hazard Analyst Critical Control Points) system.
“Fish processing units in Bali have also made some efforts to comply with the system, but unfortunately, some of the exported fish were still rejected due to decreasing quality caused by contamination with heavy metals, chemicals and microbiological substances,” he told some 50 representatives from exporting companies.
However, some countries could reject products because they had applied a new regulation, for example by lowering the tolerance limit for a chemical substance.
Meanwhile, he said, a new regulation regarding shipping procedures has been brought into effect, but had not been disseminated yet as it would take a long time to change the document template. He warned that even a slight difference in signature on the document could be a problem.
A complaint about heavy metals was received three months ago from Europe about a fish exporting company based in Sulawesi. Many exporting companies catching fish in various areas nationwide use Bali as their export gate. “It was quite unusual for us to get a complaint from Europe, because the exports had been going well before,” Gunaja said.
Jaya Wijaya, an official from the fish processing and marketing division at the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry, highlighted some issues in fish exports, including quality and safety, sustainability, bio-security, third party certification and traceability, all of which are stipulated in the regulations applied by the importing countries.
He said that challenges in fish importation were rising, citing the implementation of import safety by the US, as well as food safety laws in Japan as examples.
Indonesia has to evaluate and improve its procedures by fulfilling all the requirements or by negotiating through diplomatic channels. Indonesia still has a number of ongoing negotiations, including with EFTA (Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Liechtenstein), Korea, the European Union, India, Pakistan and Australia.
The country also cooperates with other countries in marketing fish products, including with Singapore Agribusiness, ASEAN Tuna and with the D8 group (Egypt, Turkey, Nigeria, Iran, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Pakistan). The national export value of fish last year reached US$ 3.52 billion with a total volume of 214,793 tons.
The main products are shrimp at 37.2 percent, tuna with 14.2 percent, other fish with 31.3 percent, crab at 7.4 percent, and other seafood with 9.9 percent.
Worldwide Indonesia ranks 12th in market share of fishery exports.
Bali exported 28,548 tons of fishery products, with an estimated value in excess of $124 million.