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Bad Weather And EU Crisis Hit Indonesian Tuna Exports Indonesia, July 26, 12

The current European financial turmoil, combined with unpredictable weather, has badly affected fishery exports from Bali during the first half of 2012.

I Gusti Ngurah Made Sumantri, head of research and development at the Bali fishery and maritime office, told Bali Daily on Wednesday that European countries were Bali’s major market in addition to the US and Japan.

Bali ships around 49 fishery items, including fresh and frozen tuna, seaweed and aquarium fish to European destinations.

In the January to June period this year, the island exported 2,400 tons of fishery products valued at USD 12.6 million, a drop of around 3 percent when compared to the 2,500 tons of fishery exports valued at USD 14.4 million in the same period in 2011.

Fisheries topped export commodities from Bali. In the past, the island’s major exports were textiles and garments, jewelry, leather and footwear products as well as handicrafts.

“During that period, we saw a significant fall in the catch of first fishery commodity—fresh tuna,” Sumantri said.

The island, he said, has been facing uncertain weather anomalies, which influenced seawater conditions, especially in the Bali Straits, which are home to tons of tuna.

Bad weather, due to global climate change, has also decreased the number of lemuru (Bali sardinella) fish, used to catch tuna.

“We have to import sardinella fish from India,” he said.

The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry has planned to conduct a thorough study on the impact of global climate change weather anomalies on the condition of seawater in Bali and elsewhere across the archipelago.

The study is also expected to accurately reveal the real fishery potential and impact of climate change on fishery yields in Bali.

The island’s tuna export is the biggest in Indonesia.

Sumantri said the fish consumption rate among Balinese residents was quite low, with only 21-kilograms per capita per year.

“We are hoping to increase per capita fish consumption to reach 31 kilograms per year,” he added.

Domestic consumption of fishery products in Bali is absorbed mainly by the hospitality industry.

“Tourist consumption of seafood and fishery items has been very high,” he said.

Currently, local markets in Bali are being flooded with fish — seawater fish and fresh water fish from outside the island.

Every month, around 600 tons of fish arrive at Gilimanuk Ferry ports. Not to mention those entering from other ports in Padang Bai Karangasem and Kedonganan in Jimbaran.

Local fishermen are reluctant to catch fresh water fish, as tourists prefer to consume seawater fish.