In the past 30 years, aquaculture was the fastest rising food industry in the world. The share of aquaculture has grown from roughly 12% of global fish production in 1990, to 50% of global fish production in 2020 (www.fao.org). In contrast, capture fisheries underwent stagnation from 1990 to 2020, with effectively 0% growth in the last 30 years.
This phenomenon is happening all around the world. Companies are expanding the aquaculture sector while leaving the capture sector. Even with the deployment of more advanced technologies in the capture fisheries, production failed to grow. This is due to the depleting fish stock all around the world because of overfishing. A survey from www.oceanos.org discovered that “80% of the world’s fisheries are either fully exploited or over exploited, depleted, or in a state of collapse… and we, as a species, are at risk of losing a valuable food source.”
State of the World’s Fish Stocks
State of the World’s Fish Stocks
Moreover, it has also discovered that capture fisheries are very destructive to marine ecosystem. According to www.ourworldindata.org, about 50% of the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch are plastic lines, ropes, and fishing nets that come from capture activities.
Because of the issues in the capture fisheries, aquaculture emerges as an attractive business opportunity as well as a key component to the future of global food security.
Modern marine HDPE cages in Indonesia
Indonesia has a tremendous advantage in aquaculture. As one of the largest maritime nations in the world, Indonesia has over 17,000 islands, 95,000 kilometers of coastline, and 5.8 million square kilometers of sea area. It is the home of 37% of the world’s fish species, many of which have high value, and 10% of the world’s total coral reef area. It is clear that Indonesia has abundant potential for marine aquaculture activities. Many sources also considered Indonesia’s water quality to be superior to other Southeast Asian countries in terms of oxygen content, nutrient content, and low pollution. Compared to China and Vietnam which seas are heavily polluted, Indonesian seas are considered pristine. Also, Indonesia does not have extreme weather or typhoon like in Vietnam or the Philippines; and is minimally affected by weather conditions such as El Nino or La Nina.
Map of Indonesia
Indonesia’s geographic location is also very strategic. Located between two continents, the continent of Asia and Australia provides wide open markets to absorb Indonesia’s aquaculture production. Located between two oceans, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean provides Indonesia with busy trade routes. Indonesia controls Malacca strait, which is a famous chokepoint for trade route, as well as a cluster of islands called Natuna islands which are located close to Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, and China. Due to its ocean geography, Indonesia is passed by high value fish migration route such as yellow fin tuna, blue fin tuna, and a number of whale and shark species, which can be caught responsibly to supplement aquaculture activities.
Recent surveys from www.bps.go.id shows that the utilization of Indonesia’s coastline for aquaculture activities is about 2-3%, while the utilization of Indonesia’s offshore sea for aquaculture is well below 1%. This means that there are plenty of rooms to grow the aquaculture sector.
In the last 10 years there are many regulations enacted by the Ministry of Marine and Fishery to tackle the issues that hinders the growth of the aquaculture sector with varying degrees of success. There are also many advancements in the development of aquaculture technologies. In order to assess the potential and feasibility of aquaculture business, especially offshore aquaculture, it is important to examine the regulations that are currently applicable, the history as well as the trends of regulation, available technologies, as well as the available infrastructures that exist.
This report was prepared by ciiz Co. Ltd. in consultation with PT. Gani Arta Dwitunggal in order to assess the feasibility of offshore aquaculture business in Indonesia, so that it can become the foundation for cooperation between both Korea and Indonesia in Korea-Indonesia Offshore Research Cooperation Center as well as a guide for businesses and investments in the aquaculture sector.
1.2.1 Freshwater Aquaculture
As an island nation, aquaculture plays a big role in Indonesia’s economy. It began in the year 1969 with the production of carp, gourami, and Nile tilapia, which jumpstarted the freshwater aquaculture sector in Indonesia. Freshwater fish for consumption, along with ornamental freshwater fish, became the main aquaculture export commodity of Indonesia until the end of the 20th century
Modern freshwater HDPE cages in Indonesia
1.2.2 Early Attempts in Marine Aquaculture
At the turn of the 21st century, businesses began to develop marine aquaculture. Marine aquaculture holds a tremendous potential for economic development, not only because the value of marine species is significantly higher than freshwater species, but also the available potential area for marine aquaculture development is far bigger than freshwater.Until 2009, most marine aquaculture businesses in Indonesia used traditional wooden cages which were brittle and not environmentally friendly. These cages were mainly placed in Indonesia’s secluded bays with minimal wave and current. Due to the limitations caused by the low durability of the traditional cages, marine aquaculture underwent relatively slow growth because there are not many places with minimal wave and current that would not destroy the traditional cages. Also, the low current condition in these secluded bays provided a low level of diluted oxygen content, which forced the owners of the cages to cultivate fish with lower than optimal density.
1.2.3 (2010-2016) Rapid Growth and Modernization of Marine Aquaculture
In 2010, the Minister of Marine and Fishery, Fadel Muhammad Al-Haddar began supporting marine aquaculture development by promoting the use of modern HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) cages manufactured by a local company PT. Gani Arta Dwitunggal, with its marine aquaculture equipment brand Aquatec, to replace the traditional wooden cages. The species that were prioritized for development by the government were mouse grouper and tiger grouper, with the primary export market to China and Taiwan. This policy is continued by the next Minister of Marine and Fishery, Sharif Cicip Sutarjo in 2011.
Fadel Muhammad Al-Haddar
During the period of 2010 up to 2016, grouper production experienced tremendous growth, from practically non-existent in 2010 to 70,000 tons of production in 2016 (bps.go.id). The Ministry of Marine and Fishery also invested heavily in other fish species such as milk fish and barramundi. Milkfish production reached up to 700,000 tons of production in 2016, and because of its affordable price, it became a staple source of protein for coastal citizens. As of 2022, a total of 19,500 HDPE cages have been installed in Indonesia
Overall, the trends for aquaculture in Indonesia is rising rapidly across all species from 2010 to 2016, where data is available. In 2016, Indonesia produced around 5 million tons of fish, which consisted of 3.6 million tons of freshwater species, 1.3 million tons of marine species, and 0.1 million tons of brackish water species.
Demographically, around 2.1 million people (1.6 million in freshwater aquaculture, 0.5 million in marine aquaculture) are working in the aquaculture sector in Indonesia (Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs, 2011), with around 12 million people economically tied to fishery (Sharif C. Sutardjo, 2012).
1.2.4 Indonesia’s Marine Aquaculture Compared with Other Countries
With impressive production growth achieved in just 6 years however, Indonesia’s sea utilization for marine aquaculture is still considered low. That is because Indonesia’s freshwater aquaculture production still outweighs its marine aquaculture production. Given its advantage in the sea, Indonesia hasn’t realized its full marine aquaculture potential yet. For example: if compared to China, a mainland country, in 2016 it produced around 47.6 million tons of aquaculture fish, a full third of which – 15.6 million tons – comes from of marine aquaculture, even though China only has around 30,000km of coastline. By simple logic, Indonesia with 3 times as much coastline (95,000km) should be able to produce roughly 3 times marine aquaculture fish than China, which is roughly translates to 45 million tons of marine aquaculture fish.
If we take another example, the number will be even more stark. Compared to Vietnam which only has 3,600 km of coastline, in 2016 it produced around 3.8 million tons of aquaculture fish, which consisted of 2.5 million tons of freshwater species and 1 million tons of marine species. Vietnam’s 1 million tons of marine aquaculture fish is already very close to Indonesia’s 1.3 million tons, and it is achievable with only 3,600km of coastline. Using Vietnam’s marine aquaculture fish production to coastline ratio, Indonesia should be able to produce 26 million tons of marine aquaculture fish annually. The discrepancy between Indonesia’s long coastal line with its comparably low aquaculture fish production means that there’s still much untapped potential to develop marine aquaculture industry in Indonesia. The 1.3 million tons of marine aquaculture fish currently being produced by Indonesia is still very small when compared to its possible potential.
1.2.5 Policy Implementation in 2016 and Its Unintended Consequences
In 2014, a new Minister of Marine and Fishery, Susi Pudjiastuti, was appointed. In 2016, she enacted a conservative marine policy which aims to discourage illegal fishing by neighboring countries as well as discourage fishing using capture devices that is harmful to corals. However, she also enacted a policy that severely limited ships coming from abroad to Indonesia to collect aquaculture produce. The policy in question was NOMOR 32/PERMEN-KP/2016. The policy:
1. Limited the size of ships coming from abroad to collect live fish from Indonesia, which used to have no limit, then limited to 500 gross tons per ship. This policy reduced the fuel efficiency of ships.
2. Limited the number of ports for ships coming from abroad to collect live fish from Indonesia, which used to have no docking restrictions, then restricted to dock only in 4 port choices. This severely harmed the utilization of seaports for aquaculture export in Indonesia, which was counterproductive because the Ministry of Marine and Fishery itself had been building hundreds of ports throughout Indonesia in the prior years and the years after (for the comprehensive list of fishing ports in Indonesia, you can see it in NOMOR 120/PERMEN-KP/2021).
3. Limited the number of dockings for ships coming from abroad to collect live fish from Indonesia, which used to have no docking restrictions, to 1 docking per visit. This further limited the utilization of seaports for aquaculture export, with negative consequences for small scale marine aquaculture businesses.
4. Limited the number of times ships coming from abroad to collect live fish from Indonesia, which used to have no visitation limit, then restricted to 12 visits per ship per year. This policy restricted export customers from getting their fish from Indonesia
The policy, which had the good intention of curtailing smuggling and boosting local shipbuilding industry, was implemented with minimal peer review so suddenly that both foreign ships and local shipbuilding industry were taken by surprise. As the result, it severely diminished marine aquaculture export for the next 3 years. The author of this report has a hard time gathering marine aquaculture export data in 2017-2019 period.
1.2.6 (2017-2020) Aquaculture Industry Recovery
Things slowly improved however, and both marine aquaculture businesses and export companies began to adapt. Export for marine aquaculture began to climb again, but commodities had shifted from majority grouper to broader species. In 2020, marine aquaculture had mostly recovered, and Indonesia became one of the top 15 frozen fish exporters in the world, placed at no. 11 with 529 million USD in sales (www.worldstopexports.com).
Also in 2020, the Ministry of Marine and Fishery revised the NOMOR 32/PERMEN-KP/2016 regulation with a much less restrictive regulation NOMOR 15/PERMEN-KP/2020. With this new regulation, the previous limitations on ships, ports and dockings were lifted, opening the gates for fleets of ships coming from abroad to collect live fish from Indonesia, rejuvenating marine aquaculture export. By enacting NOMOR 15/PERMEN-KP/2020, Indonesia had entered a new era of marine aquaculture industry.
Fish Market in Indonesia
The Minister of Marine and Fishery changed to Edhy Prabowo in 2019, and he is replaced by Sakti Wahyu Trenggono in 2020. The Ministry of Marine and Fishery of Indonesia remains actively involved in marine aquaculture and plays a big role in the recovery period and growth since 2020 up to today.
Sakti Wahyu Trenggono
To lay out the roadmap of Indonesia’s aquaculture industry, the Ministry of Marine and Fishery of Indonesia enacted NOMOR 57/PERMEN-KP/2020 which laid out the ministry’s strategic plan for 2020-2024. The main takeaways for aquaculture are as follows:
1. Aquaculture production in 2019 had recovered to 2015 level of around 5.3 million tons (the number is obtained from the official aquaculture production number including seaweed cultivation production of 16.3 million tons, subtracted by seaweed cultivation production of 11 million tons).
2. Acknowledges the potential of aquaculture production in Indonesia can reach up to 100 million tons per year, with estimated value of 251 billion USD.
3. Acknowledges that there are several challenges to increase aquaculture production, which are:
a. Aquaculture industry in Indonesia is still dominated by small scale businesses, traditional technology, low productivity, and low added value, suboptimal area utilization, and high production costs;
b. Limited access to funds to increase economic of scale;
c. Low competitive edge and quality for export market; and
d. Low number of aquaculture equipment and supporting logistical infrastructure for handling live fish compared to other countries.
The Ministry of Marine and Fishery therefore aims to solve these problems by creating regulations such as:
1. NOMOR 22/PERMEN-KP/2017
Organization and Working Procedures of Marine Aquaculture Research Center
2. NOMOR 37/PERMEN-KP/2019
Waste Control on Aquaculture Activity
3. NOMOR 6/PERMEN-KP/2020
Fish Welfare Management on Aquaculture
4. NOMOR 12/PERMEN-KP/2020
Management of Lobsters and Crabs and in the Territory of the Republic of Indonesia
5. NOMOR 15/PERMEN-KP/2020
Live Fish Carrier Ship
6. NOMOR 17/PERMEN-KP/2020
The Ministry of Marine and Fishery of Indonesia’s Strategic Plan for 2020-2024
7. NOMOR 19/PERMEN-KP/2020
Prohibition of Importation, Cultivation, Circulation, and Release of Fish Species that are Harmful and/or Detrimental to and from the Fishery Management Area of the Republic of Indonesia
Conservation Area Management
Administration of Permits for the Use of Small Islands and the Surrounding Waters in the Context of Foreign Investment and Recommendations for the Use of Small Islands with an Area of Less Than 100 Square Kilometers
Management Permit and Location Permit at Sea
Procedures, Requirements, and Determination of Aquaculture Areas
12. NOMOR 57/PERMEN-KP/2020
Changes to the Regulation of Ministry of Marine and Fishery NOMOR 17/PERMEN-KP/2020 About The Ministry of Marine and Fishery of Indonesia’s Strategic Plan for 2020-2024
The Delegation of Part of the Government Affairs in the Marine and Fisheries Sector to the Governor as the Representative of the Central Government in the Context of Deconcentration and Assignment of Part of the Government Affairs in the Marine and Fishery Sector to the Regional Government in the Context of Implementing Co-Administration Tasks for the 2021 Fiscal Year
14. NOMOR 67/PERMEN-KP/2020
Organization and Working Procedures of Aquaculture Technical Implementing Units
15. NOMOR 70/PERMEN-KP/2020
Organization and Working Procedures of Marine Aquaculture Research Center
16. NOMOR 13/PERMEN-KP/2021
Emergency Response and Fish Disease Control
Management of Lobsters and Crabs and in the Territory of the Republic of Indonesia
18. NOMOR 21/PERMEN-KP/2021
New Aquaculture Species
19. NOMOR 41/PERMEN-KP/2021
The Delegation of Part of the Government Affairs in the Marine and Fisheries Sector to the Governor as the Representative of the Central Government in the Context of Deconcentration and Assignment of Part of the Government Affairs in the Marine and Fishery Sector to the Regional Government in the Context of Implementing Co-Administration Tasks for the 2022 Fiscal Year
20. NOMOR 47/PERMEN-KP/2021
21. NOMOR 54/PERMEN-KP/2021
Classification of Types of Marine and Fishery Goods and Services
22. NOMOR 55/PERMEN-KP/2021
Change of Functions of Marine Buildings
23. NOMOR 58/PERMEN-KP/2021
National Fish Logistical System
24. NOMOR 59/PERMEN-KP/2021
Added Value Improvement of Fishery Products
25. NOMOR 119/PERMEN-KP/2021
Master Data for Marine and Fishery Goods
26. NOMOR 120/PERMEN-KP/2021
Master Data on Fishing Ports, Prospective Fishing Ports, and Public Ports as Fish Landing Sites
27. NOMOR 121/PERMEN-KP/2021
Tuna and Skipjack Fisheries Management Plan
28. NOMOR 123/PERMEN-KP/2021
Snapper and Grouper Fisheries Management Plan
29. NOMOR 7/PERMEN-KP/2022
Allocation of Fish Aggregation Devices on Fishing Lanes in the Fishery Management Area of the Republic of Indonesia
30. NOMOR 16/PERMEN-KP/2022
Changes to the Regulation of Ministry of Marine and Fishery NOMOR 17/PERMEN-KP/2021 About Management of Lobsters and Crabs and in the Territory of the Republic of Indonesia
31. NOMOR 42/PERMEN-KP/2022
Mechanism for the Operation, Establishment and/or Placement of Buildings and Installations at Sea
It can take a while to study the minutiae of the regulations enacted by the Ministry of Marine and Fishery of Indonesia, especially how those regulations interact with each other and forms the backbone of aquaculture industry in Indonesia. However, there are several key takeaways that forms the big picture as follows:
1. The overall roadmap for 2020-2024 and recent regulations enacted by the Ministry of Marine and Fishery has resulted in and will further encourage positive growth for the aquaculture industry in Indonesia, especially in marine aquaculture.
2. More regulation in marine aquaculture indicates the special attention and focus, therefore marine aquaculture will likely be the primary drive for growth in the aquaculture industry in Indonesia.
3. The regulations for marine aquaculture are currently focused on snapper, grouper, lobster and crab species, as indicated in NOMOR 12/PERMEN-KP/2020, NOMOR 17/PERMEN-KP/2021, NOMOR 123/PERMEN-KP/2021, and NOMOR 16/PERMEN-KP/2022.
4. Support in the form of funds, equipment, and/or loans from the government will primarily be given to registered cooperative legal entity (called “cooperative”) as opposed to private companies, as indicated in NOMOR 17/PERMEN-KP/2020, NOMOR 57/PERMEN-KP/2020, and NOMOR 47/PERMEN-KP/2021. However, support in the forms of information, knowhow, technologies, technical expertise, joint cooperation, and supply of seed and fingerlings, are available for everyone as indicated in NOMOR 22/PERMEN-KP/2017, NOMOR 17/PERMEN-KP/2020, NOMOR 57/PERMEN-KP/2020, NOMOR 67/PERMEN-KP/2020, NOMOR 70/PERMEN-KP/2020, NOMOR 13/PERMEN-KP/2021, NOMOR 21/PERMEN-KP/2021, and NOMOR 58/PERMEN-KP/2021.
Although not explicitly stated in the regulation, private companies may propose a business plan to the local government to work together with one or more cooperatives to form a “Nucleus and Plasm”. Nucleus and Plasm is a form of joint cooperation where a private company provides the initial startup and funding, forming a “Nucleus”. Then, if the business is a proven success, it makes a joint cooperation with one or more cooperatives, forming a “Plasm”. Cooperative(s) then submits a proposal to get funds, equipment, and/or loans from the government, after which members of the cooperative utilize the funds, equipment, and/or loans as a partner or an expansion of the private companies. The scheme is usually for the Plasm to act as the main supplier for the Nucleus and the Nucleus to act as the buyer, processor, and marketer of the product.
5. Currently there are some overlapping regulations in getting the permits necessary to start an aquaculture business. These complicated procedures to obtain permits may take some time and come as an obstacle for aquaculture startups, especially ones from foreign investment, as it requires a deep understanding of the regulations and good relationships with both the Ministry of Marine and Fishery and the Governor of the province where the business is based.
In order to start an aquaculture business, a legal entity must follow the province’s zoning regulation called RZWP3K and obtain a zoning permit from the Governor. Each province is unique and has their own zoning regulations. In order to simplify the assessment process, one can simply look at the major aquaculture center in the province and followed suit. For example the provinces that are supportive of grouper aquaculture are Lampung, West Sumatera, and Aceh. The provinces that are supportive of snapper aquaculture are those along the Malaka Strait. The provinces that are supportive of lobster aquaculture are West Sumatera, Bali, and West Nusa Tenggara.
After obtaining a zoning permit, a legal entity must then obtain an aquaculture permit from the Ministry of Marine and Fisheries of Indonesia. After obtaining both permits, aquaculture activities may begin.
Indonesia uses the law of Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), as prescribed by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
ALKI(IndonesianArchipelagic SeaLanes)was definedbyResolutionoftheMaritimeSafetyCommittee No.72bytherecommendationfromIndonesian government.
Indonesian Archipelagic Sea Lanes
The Indonesian sea area is then further divided into 18 zones as follows
Some regulations applicable to these zones may apply to the secondary activities of the aquaculture business, such as sea transportation. Other local regulations may also apply. It is advisable to consult with the local provincial government in order to get a grip of all the regulations before starting an aquaculture business.
1.1 Wave Characteristics in Indonesian Waters
During the Asian monsoon period, South China Sea, northern waters of Papua, and Indian Ocean had more than 2 meters of wave height. However, the inter-island waters of Indonesia had less than 1.2 meters of wave height, with wave height in certain months reaching to about 1.5 meters.
During the Australian monsoon period, Arafuru Sea had more than 2.5 meters of wave height during the month of June and July, while Indian Ocean extending from the northern water of Aceh to Lampung had more than 3 meters of wave height and southern Java Sea had more than 2 meters of wave height.
The period in between Asian monsoon and Australian monsoon had relatively calmer waters, with the inter-island waters of Indonesia had between 0.5-1.2 meters of wave height (iptek.ics.ac.id, wave height data gathered from NCEP-NOAA).
It is highly advisable to refer to the wave height data and plan the specifications of aquaculture cages and/or equipment accordingly, as wave height in the outermost waters of Indonesia is particularly high and beyond the warranty condition that is included in the purchase. Specifications that are applicable in other countries may not be applicable in Indonesia.
2.1.2 Case Study of the Application of Foreign Aquaculture Cage Standard in Indonesia
In the year 2016/2017, the Ministry of Marine and Fishery in Indonesia purchased 24 units of round HDPE marine cages 25 meters diameter from Norway through PT. Perikanan Nusantara (PT. Perinus) as an intermediary and executor of the purchase. The cages bought by PT. Perinus used Norwegian specification and certified with “Norwegian Standard” certification. One notable specification from the manufacturer is: round HDPE marine cages 25 meters diameter uses double collar OD (Outer Diameter) 315mm HDPE pipe SDR (Sidewall to Diameter Ratio) 17, which is 18.5mm thick. This cage specification is deemed suitable in Norway because the wave in Norwegian waters is relatively mild compared to Indonesian waters, and the cages are placed inside Fjord (bay). Of the 24 units of cages, 8 units of cage are placed in the province of West Java in the district of Pangandaran, which directly faced the southern Java Sea, 8 units of cage are placed in the province of Aceh in the Island of Sabang, the westernmost as well as the northernmost part of Indonesia, and the final 8 units of cage are placed in the province of Central Java in the district of Karimunjawa.
After just 2 months after installation, in June 2017, 8 units of cage that were installed in Pangandaran were completely broken and rendered unusable. The damages were: 1) bent pipes on both collars of the pipe, 2) perforated pipes, 3) slanted brackets, 4) broken brackets, and 5) broken ropes. 8 units of cage that were installed in Sabang also underwent the same problems and damages, rendering the cages unusable. The 8 units of cages that were installed in Karimunjawa, luckily, only suffered minor damage due to their location in the inter-island waters of Indonesia that has relatively calmer wave.
What happened in Pangandaran and Sabang is due to the insistence of the manufacturers to blindly adhere to the standard of their origin country without observing the characteristics of Indonesian waters.
2.1.2 Recommended Aquaculture Cage System Specification for Indonesian Offshore Waters
18.104.22.168 Cage Pipe and Brackets
For offshore waters, it is best to use round HDPE cages. For Indonesian inter-island waters, as a rule of thumb it is recommended to use the pipe OD standard that is at least one step higher than the one that is applied in Europe with at least the same pipe SDR or thicker. For example, if a certain cage diameter in Europe uses a certain OD of pipe with SDR 17, such as the “Norwegian Standard” for round HDPE marine cages 25 meters diameter uses double collar OD 315mm HDPE pipe SDR 17 (18.5mm thick), it is recommended instead to use double collar OD 355mm HDPE pipe SDR 17 (21mm thick), etc. Further study is still recommended as some inter-island waters of Indonesia still has high wave and vicious weather, especially the ones with open location with no islands nearby.
For Indonesian outer waters (non-inter-island waters), it is highly paramount to conduct a detailed study of the wave and water characteristics before considering building an aquaculture operation. If a location is protected by a big island and/or bay, cage installations may be possible. Further study is required to determine the cage specifications required for an aquaculture operation, but as a rule of thumb it is recommended to use the pipe OD standard that is at least one step higher than the one that is applied in Europe with at least the same pipe SDR or thicker.
Brackets are an important part of round HDPE marine cages. Along with pipe OD and thickness, the quality of brackets directly correlates with the lifetime of the cage on the sea. It is recommended to use one piece brackets (no connection or welding) that are big and solid which is produced with HDPE injection method, as opposed to HDPE roto mold method which has cavities inside.
22.214.171.124 Cage Nets
In aquaculture, nets can be divided into several sub-categories:
1. Rigid and non-rigid
2. Knotted and knotless
Rigid nets are nets that are made of copper or PET and is rigid in structure. They usually offer better protection against predators but are heavy and require special equipment to handle (usually with a crane) due to their rigidity. Non-rigid nets are nets that are made of HDPE, UHMWPE, nylon, or polyester and is flexible in structure. They are light and easy to handle but offer less protection against predators.
Knotted nets are usually fish capture nets that is used for aquaculture, while knotless nets are aquaculture specific nets that have no knots and have smooth surface. Knotted nets are cheap but prone to cause damage to fish scales, causing infection and high mortality rates. Knotless nets do not damage fish scales due to its smooth surface and therefore have lower mortality rates and increased survival rates. Currently, knotless nets have become the go to standard for modern aquaculture practices. It is highly recommended to use knotless nets for better aquaculture result.
For round HDPE marine cages, due to the marine predator population in the Indonesian waters, it is advisable to use knotless nets that is made from UHMWPE (Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene). UHMWPE is a type of Polyethylene with very high tensile strength. If manufactured correctly, UHMWPE net can have the same tensile strength as steel wire of the same diameter. While it does not offer full resistance against sharp toothed predators such as shark compared to rigid copper and PET nets, it provides overall better protection against predators compared to HDPE, nylon, and polyester nets. It is also non-rigid and flexible, making it easy to use.
Some of the Indonesian outer waters (non-inter-island waters) locations have extreme wave and weather conditions. For these locations, the only possible means to utilize the sea for aquaculture is by using offshore submersible cages, which can mitigate extreme wave and weather conditions by submerging the cage.
Indonesia has an advanced aquaculture cage technology and integrated aquaculture cage industry. The most common form of modern aquaculture cage in Indonesia is square HDPE marine cages, with the size of 3m x 3m and 4m x 4m for each cage. Currently, there are 19,500 of these square cages installed in Indonesia. The cage uses HDPE pipes OD 355mm as its main body to provide ample buoyancy for aquaculture activities, equipped with several patterned tracks that is heat-fused on the upper side of the pipe, and both ends of the pipe each closed with sturdy double bulkheads using heat fusion. These floating pipes with tracks and bulkheads are attached to connector components using stainless steel grade 316 bolts and nuts, then equipped with HDPE net hanger, HDPE knotless nets, and cast-iron stock anchor, forming knock-down square cages. The cages can be used for a wide variety of species, primarily for grouper and lobster. This model is easy to transport, assemble, and use and very popular in Indonesia, and has been exported to Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, China, Maldives, Australia, and Ghana.
Square HDPE marine cages (aquatec.co.id, youtube.com/aquatecindonesia)
Another common form of modern aquaculture cage in Indonesia is round HDPE marine cages, with the size ranging from 6 meters in diameter up to 50 meters in Diameter. For 6-10 meters in diameter, the HDPE pipe standard is triple collar OD 200mm pipe SDR 16-17 (11.7-12.5mm thick). For 12 meters in diameter, the HDPE pipe standard is double collar OD 250mm pipe SDR 17 (14.7mm thick). For 16 meters in diameter, the HDPE pipe standard is double collar OD 280mm pipe SDR 17 (14.7mm thick). For 20 meters in diameter, the HDPE pipe standard is double collar OD 315mm pipe SDR 17 (18.5mm thick). For 25 meters in diameter, the HDPE pipe standard is double collar OD 355mm pipe SDR 17 (21mm thick). For 32 meters in diameter, the HDPE pipe standard is double collar OD 400mm pipe SDR 17 (23.5mm thick). For 40 meters in diameter, the HDPE pipe standard is double collar OD 450mm pipe SDR 17 (26.5mm thick). For 50 meters in diameter, there are 2 optional standards: 1) HDPE pipe double collar with OD 450mm pipe SDR 17 (26.5mm thick), or 2) HDPE pipe double collar with OD 560mm and OD 500mm pipe SDR 17 (33mm and 29.4mm thick). The brackets used for these cages are solid HDPE compact injection brackets with branching structures, which are manufactured locally.
Round HDPE marine cage 32 meters diameter in Gondol, Bali (aquatec.co.id, youtube.com/aquatecindonesia)
Round HDPE marine cages 50 meters diameter in Gondol, Bali (aquatec.co.id, youtube.com/aquatecindonesia)
Currently, the biggest round HDPE marine cages in Indonesia measures 50m in diameter (4 units) and are manufactured locally, located in Gondol Marine Aquaculture Research Center and Fishery Advisor, used to research yellow fin tuna.
Indonesia also has a manufacturer of offshore submersible HDPE marine cage, a cage that is specifically designed to mitigate sea areas with extreme wave and weather condition. This technology has been applied in Hainan, China to counter against typhoon storms during Asian monsoon season. Currently there are 3 offshore submersible HDPE marine cage optional available: round, cylindrical, and square.
Offshore submersible HDPE marine cage in Hainan, China (aquatec.co.id, youtube.com/aquatecindonesia)
A certain cage manufacturer in Indonesia offers co-extrusion HDPE pipe technology for cages. Co-extrusion HDPE pipes are HDPE pipes that has an added co-extruded HDPE layer outside, usually for anti-biofouling. With anti-biofouling HDPE layer, HDPE pipe can have protection against micro and macro biofouling, greatly reducing maintenance cost for cleaning moss and barnacles. Co-extrusion is the only method to have anti-biofouling properties on HDPE pipes that can last throughout the whole lifetime of the cage without the need of reapplication.
Co-extrusion HDPE pipe with anti-biofouling HDPE layer
For net cages, Indonesia has a manufacturer dedicated to produce of HDPE and UHMWPE knotless nets.
2.2.1 Brief Discussion of Common Factors that Affects Fish Growth
In aquaculture production, fish growth is directly correlated with several factors (not in order of importance): 1) the genetic quality of the fish, 2) the amount of essential amino acids and nutrients that the fish received, 3) the amount of oxygen that the fish breathe, 4) water quality and parameters, 5) density and space factor, and 6) the presence of other limiting factors such as parasites and predators.
The first factor – the genetic quality of the fish – is one of the most impactful aspects in aquaculture but also the most time consuming to manage. The difference between a good genetic and a bad one will make the difference between a highly successful aquaculture operation or a struggling venture. It is important to get select quality seeds and continually improve the quality of future seeds by having an integrated selective breeding facilities and programs across multiple generations.
The second factor is the amount of essential amino acids and nutrients that the fish received. It is common knowledge that fish require plenty of proteins to grow. However, in order to achieve a better feed efficiency and faster growth, it is essential to research the exact kind and ratio of amino acids that each species of fish needs, as it makes up the building blocks of fish meat. For example, a certain species of fish may require amino acids according to the following ratio…
Amino acid “A” : amino acid “B” : amino acid “C” : amino acid “D” = 1 : 3 : 5 : 2
…then this fish was given feed that contains the following ratio of amino acids…
Amino acid “A” : amino acid “B” : amino acid “C” : amino acid “D” = 2 : 3 : 5 : 1
…then the fish metabolism will have trouble fulfilling its needs of amino acid “D” because it comes in only a small amount from the feed. As the result, said fish body will only digest amino acids “B” and amino acid “C” only about half and secrete the leftovers. Worse, amino acid “A” will mostly be wasted. As the result, the efficiency of the feed is roughly half of what it could potentially be. To counteract this, the owner must give twice the amount of feed or suffer slow growth. The example above may be a bit simplistic and extreme, but that is just a simple illustration to give a picture of the correlation between amino acids and fish growth.
The third factor is the amount of oxygen that the fish breathe. It is important to pay attention to Oxygen because it is needed for the metabolism of the fish. A limited diluted oxygen level may cause the feed given to fish to be not fully digested and secreted out by the fish, limiting growth, as in aquaculture both the weight the protein consumed by the fish and the weight of the oxygen that is breathed by the fish will contribute to the overall weight of the fish meat that is produced.
The fourth factor is water quality and parameters. The metabolism of aquatic animals like fish is affected by the surrounding water. As such, water parameters that is unsuitable to a particular species will hamper the growth of the fish or even cause death.
The fifth factor is density and space. Density and space are correlated with both the amount of oxygen that is present and needed by the fish, the amount of waste, and the natural behavior of the fish itself, and it can be manipulated to a certain extent as such. For example, one can increase the density of the fish in his/her operation by supplying proportionally more oxygen in the water and removing waste proportionally faster, but he/she can only do it to a certain extent because of the limitations in the inherent fish behavior. For example, increasing density twice by supplying twice more oxygen and removing waste twice as fast from the system may be possible, but it may not be possible to do it five or ten times more dense, as the inherent fish behavior might cause them to fight each other in such a cramped space.
The sixth factor – the presence of other limiting factors such as parasites and predators – is also important. It is important to monitor and control/eliminate the presence of parasites and predators in the system that might hamper growth.
2.2.2 Harvest Yield Estimation for Each Aquaculture Cage Types
An aquaculture cage, such as square HDPE marine cages, round HDPE marine cages, or offshore submersible HDPE marine cages are all open systems, meaning that the water that is used as a medium for growing the fish is connected to or the same as the water surrounding the cages.
Environmental carrying capacity is the maximum population size of a biological species that can be sustained by that specific environment, given the food, habitat, water, and other resources or limiting factors available. The main factors of the environmental carrying capacity of water for aquaculture is diluted oxygen and waste, and both are affected by the density of the cages in the area. The more operating cages and the closer they are to each other in an area, the less diluted oxygen and the more waste, limiting fish growth. Less diluted oxygen will slow down fish growth and vice versa, while more waste will make fish sick and more prone to disease and vice versa. To counterbalance this, a lower fish density should be implemented, as lower production is usually preferable than slow and suboptimal growth. However, this solution is not ideal. Another solution is to use oxygen diffuser to add more oxygen to the environment.
Aquaculture business usually have overcrowding risk that develops over a long period of time. When an aquaculture business succeeds in an area, other business entities will usually follow suit and build in the same area, leading to overcrowding. The amount of time for an area to be saturated depends on the environmental carrying capacity of the area and the speed of which businesses come. This is similar to the phenomenon called the Tragedy of the Commons. However, the farther from the shore the cage is located, the less the risk of overcrowding as the environmental carrying capacity is higher, albeit with higher transportation cost. Further study should be conducted in order to calculate the ideal risk and reward of moving the cage farther offshore.
Overcrowded lobster cages in Vietnam
Assuming ideal water conditions are used for aquaculture activities, for pelagic species, fish farmers in Indonesia usually use 30kg/m3 as their baseline harvest density (fish density during a period close to harvest). For grouper species, the harvest density used is 10kg/m3. By calculating the volume of water provided by each type of cages, we can calculate the harvest yield estimation for each cage types:
2.3 Aquaculture Cage
2.3.1 Automatic Feeder
For marine aquaculture, fish are usually be given feed in the form of pellets. The reason is because pellets are easy to get, easy to store, practical to give to fish, and have consistent quality. With suitable feed in the form of pellets, the FCR is usually better than fresh fish. Fresh fish is possible to be given as feed, but it is sometimes hard to get regularly, difficult to store, requires to be cut up and difficult to give to fish, and requires an additional step to determine the freshness. However, pellets are usually more expensive than fresh fish.
As a rule of thumb, with pellets containing between 25%-40% protein, usually fish requires feed about 2-3% of its bodyweight per day. In the beginning, while the fish are still small, they don’t require much feed every day. However, as the fish grow and get heavier, more and more pellets are required as feed every day. Therefore, when determining the size of the automatic feeder needed to give to fish, it is important to calculate the weight of the fish inside the cage during harvest period.
Example : 25m diameter x 6m round cages
o Water volume : 2,650m3
o Harvest density for pelagic species : 79,500kg
o Feed required per day during harvest : 1,990kg
o Autofeeder capacity (8 hour feed time) : 250kg/hour
Assuming the fish species is grown from 50gr to 1,000gr, grows linearly within 1 year, and have mortality rate of 10%, we can calculate the total feed given during the period as follows:
Average Fish Weight x Bodyweight Percentage x Number of Days =
(Beginning Weight + Harvest Weight x Survival Rate) / 2 x 2% x 360 =
(50gr + 1000gr x 90%) / 2 x 2.5% x 365 =
3,400gr per fish (FCR of 3.8)
If the cage harvests 79,500kg of fish and each fish weigh 1kg, then there are 79,500 fish inside the cage, then the amount of pellets needed throughout the year is 302.1 tons.
2.3.2 Monitoring Systems
It is important to implement the latest monitoring systems technology available for optimal result. Monitoring systems are useful for:
1. Monitoring areas around the farm
o Monitoring and recording workers activities on the farm
o Spotting intruding ships that could compromise the safety of the farm
2. Monitoring the water conditions around the farm
o Monitoring and recording water parameters on the farm
o Spotting the presence of algae blooming or red tide early and activate contingency measures to provide additional oxygen
3. Monitoring the fish inside the cage
o Monitoring the activities of fish inside the cage and spotting abnormal fish activities
o Monitoring the health of fish inside the cage and spotting early signs of infections
o Monitoring the number of fish inside the cage (requires counting and/or tracking device):
§ If the number of fish dropped, there may be a hole on the net
o Monitoring the growth of fish inside the cage (requires measuring device and software)
4. Monitoring the conditions of the cage and equipment
o Monitoring the conditions of the net:
§ Early detection for net damage to prevent fish from going away
o Monitoring the conditions of the cage
o Monitoring the conditions of the anchoring system
The bigger the cage, the more advanced the monitoring systems should be due to the higher capital at stake. Remote online monitoring system is preferred.
2.3.3 Other Equipment
Other equipment might be needed for more efficient cage operation such as net cleaning device. The type and size of the equipment must be based on careful consideration of the goal and purpose of the aquaculture operation.
3.1 Assessment of Offshore Aquaculture in Indonesia
With the advancement of aquaculture in Indonesia, offshore aquaculture is the logical next step for the industry. Offshore aquaculture makes it possible for large round cages to be deployed and will provide better economies of scale. It can utilize the ports that have built in Indonesia and in turn, it will also increase the utilization of existing Indonesian ports.
Currently, there are 616 ports available in Indonesia (data from NOMOR 120/PERMEN-KP/2021) from its westernmost border (Aceh Province) to its easternmost border (Papua Province). An offshore aquaculture operation can be built near these ports, as long as other prerequisites for aquaculture are met (good water conditions, good infrastructure, zoning, permit, workforce, safety and security, etc).
Other options such as building an offshore aquaculture operation near decommissioned oil and gas platform can also be considered. Decommissioning is an activity to close the facility and restore the environmental conditions around the facility, which is the final stage in the oil and gas project cycle. Indonesian regulations require oil and gas companies to fully dismantle every part of the oil and gas platform at the end of its life cycle, which is a costly operation. Currently, the trend that is developing among the oil and gas companies is to donate the offshore building structure for alternative uses, one of which is offshore aquaculture. If used as the base for offshore aquaculture, the decommissioned oil and gas platform can be used as control room, feed storage, fuel storage, fresh water storage, cold storage, and port.
There are around 550 oil and gas platforms spread in Indonesian waters. Around 18% are aged 21-30 years, and 53% are aged more than 30 years, which if combined represents 389 oil and gas platforms. These oil and gas platforms are close to the end of its production cycle and needs to be decommissioned.
The cooperation between the Ministry of Marine and Fishery and KMOUC has been going on since 2016. Research and feasibility study of the utilization of a decommissioned oil and gas platform as the base for offshore aquaculture has been ongoing since 2017. Feasibility study on 7 offshore oil and gas platforms in the East Kalimantan-Attaka Block Working Area managed by PT. Pertamina Hulu East Kalimantan was finished in 2018. In 2019, dismantling plan on 14 post-operation oil and gas platforms in the Offshore North West Java Working Area in North West Java Waters had been finalized. In the same year, the Ministry of Marine and Fisheries along with KMOUC agreed to form Korea – Indonesia Offshore Research Cooperation Center (KIORCC) to focus on the issue of capacity building and bridging platform in order to make offshore aquaculture operation on a decommissioned oil and gas platform a reality.
Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs and Investment suggested the pilot project of decommissioning 3 platform points owned by PT. Pertamina Hulu East Kalimantan, namely Attaka-UA, Attaka-ED and Attaka-I. The South Korean government agreed to help with the decommissioning, a decision that garnered approval from the Indonesian government.
A decommissioned oil and
gas platform can act as a base of operation for offshore aquaculture with
1. Far from onshore activities
An offshore aquaculture operation around a decommissioned oil and gas platform has much lower chance of interfering with other maritime activities such as maritime transport, fishing, beach tourism, and competing aquaculture operations. It also has an added benefit of cleaner waters, as onshore waters have the risk of pollution from river runoffs, industrial and/or settlement waste, port activities, and dense aquaculture operations.
2. Better security
One of the challenges of aquaculture operation in Indonesia is security. In areas with low economic standard of living, local citizens may try to intimidate, interfere, extort, steal, or even outright rob local aquaculture operations, especially ones that just started. The severity of the problem rises the more remote and the lower the standard of living, and there is little the local authorities can do about it.
It has become common knowledge that in order to start an aquaculture operation in Indonesia, one has to recruit the majority of the workforce from local population in order to instill a sense of kinship with the local population. As people in local village tend to know each other, the local workforce can be utilized to prevent theft and identify theft perpetrator, mediate and defuse tense situations, etc. It is also not uncommon for under the table monetary favors be made with local influential figures and authorities in order to further keep the conducive business environment.
These conditions undoubtedly prove to be very bothersome for aquaculture investors, especially foreign investors unfamiliar with the practice. This is one of the reasons that slows the growth of the industry. Building an offshore aquaculture operation around a decommissioned oil and gas platform, however, solves almost all of these problems as the base of operation is very remote and far away from land. Fishermen that want to steal the fish has no incentive to do so because the distance is very far and very risky. The owner of the operation is also free to recruit professional operators not from certain local populations.
3. Better economies of scale
Building an offshore aquaculture operation around a decommissioned oil and gas platform offers even more opportunity to increase economic of scale, as the water area is bigger and there is no conflict of interest with onshore activities.
4. Better access to the market through sea transportation
An offshore aquaculture operation around a decommissioned oil and gas platform has a direct access for ships to come and take it directly to market, relieving reliance on land transportation which sometimes hampered by poor road infrastructure.
5. Savings on anchoring system
Since the cages will be anchored on the decommissioned oil and gas platform, expensive costs associated with setting up anchors in deep waters will be greatly reduced.
However, we must be aware of the drawback of building an offshore aquaculture operation around a decommissioned oil and gas platform, which are:
1. More expensive operation cost
Running an aquaculture operation near a decommissioned oil and gas platform requires daily needs and fish feed to be transported by boat and stored on site. Fresh water might need to be desalinated from seawater to save boat transportation costs. These costs resulted in more expensive operation, which can be offset with the economy of scale of the operation.
2. Different permit requirements
Since running an aquaculture operation near a decommissioned oil and gas platform has never been done in Indonesia, we do not know how to obtain the necessary permits to run one and what the requirements are.
3. Limited availability of sites
There are a limited number of decommissioned oil and gas platforms in Indonesia with suitable waters, limiting the options for an aquaculture base.With these considerations, building an aquaculture operation near a decommissioned oil and gas platform has more known benefits than drawbacks. Combined with the limited available locations, it is a venture worth to be considered. (Page 1 of 2 : 3.3 Yellow Fin Tuna Aquaculture Business Development Analysis)