Grouper are some of the most consumed reef fish in the world. Photo: iStock

The trade in live reef fish is raising concern over the marine environment in Indonesia and its sustainability. Reef fish such as grouper are widely consumed in Asia, mainly in Hong Kong and China.

They are considered a commodity and are sold for high prices, which attracts fishermen to catch this kind of fish.

Susi Pudjiastuti, the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries in Indonesia, said the market for reef fish makes them vulnerable to exploitation, reported. She added that the consumption of the fish also greatly affects biodiversity by putting pressure on coral reefs.

The minister also urged fishermen to avoid using destructive methods such as dynamite, potassium and bombs when fishing on coral reefs.

With Indonesia a part of the International Coral Reef Initiative, Pudjiastuti said the country has an obligation to promote sustainable coral reef management as well as improving socio-economic elements for citizens who live near the ocean.

According to a study by the University of Hong Kong, 20 of the 163 known grouper species have been labeled as threatened species.