Saturday, January 9, 2010


Happy New Year everyone! Sorry I haven't posted in a while, been spending time with family during the holidays... and spending Christmas with your loved ones is priceless! I can appreciate this much more since I am away for most of the year spending time with corals! But if you ever end up doing what I do, then you will know.

For today, let's take a break from the corals and fish and have a look at a trade that has always fascinated me - live grouper trade! Being a hardcore fishing type of a guy, anything that has to do with fish gets my attention - especially tasty fish such as live groupers. Steamed Chinese style is the best and I can eat everyday if I had chance without getting bored. Like many other tropical places, Indonesia is a haven for these reef dwelling creatures. Most of the fresh live groupers are exported to Asian countries like Hong Kong and Taiwan. These never make it here to the states because simply they wouldn't make the trip, or it would cost too much.

In South Sulawesi (Makassar), where the best corals are found, the grouper trade keeps plenty of fishermen busy making a living. There are many people exporting groupers, and many of the export companies are owned actually by foreigners, mostly Chinese from Hong Kong or Taiwan.
I visited one of these grouper places in Makassar. The activity that was going on was amazing. It was getting dark when I got there and there were boats coming in from the smaller islands with fresh live fish. The crew was also busy sorting stock to send to Jakarta to catch a plane to Hong Kong.

Grouper video 1
Grouper video 2
Grouper video 3

There are many species of groupers and each one is priced differently. The red strawberry and miniatus types fetch the higher prices.

Some selected and floating in a basket before packing.

Hey here is one grouper that we all know about - the panther grouper. These are being aquacultured all over Indo and small tiny ones end up in the aquarium trade. This monster was wild caught and should sell for big bucks. I hear these taste really good, although I haven't tried it yet!

Just to give you an idea of how big these panthers can get!

Just like a trout fishermen showing off his catch!

Pool full of tasty groupers!

Oh yah, the grouper fishermen also catch lobster as well!

Check out how big this bad boy is!

Sometimes these appear in the aquarium trade - slipper lobsters. I know these are super tasty!

Big concrete pools quarantine the groupers. The bubbles you see are from oxygen tanks, not airpumps.

The guys sorting out by size and species.

One of fishing boats from the islands. The guy in the boat is reaching down to net the live groupers. The fish are kept in a makeshift livewell.

Fresh caught groupers being dumped into baskets.

Man, I think this business would be really fun - get to play with fish all day!

Fish being weighed before packing.

So we ended up buying three groupers from these guys. Indonesians love fried stuff! We had these groupers fried at a street side food vendor and ate with rice and vegetables and hot sauce - way fun and delicious!


Ok guys that is it for today. Make sure to check out the videos. Another eye opening experience in another cool trade!



Keith said...

This is a shocking piece of advocacy for a trade that is threatening the survival of these grouper species.

Before eating grouper, please be aware that many species have been overfished to the point where stocks have completely collapsed in Indonesia. Now fishermen are having to turn their attention to smaller, less valuable species of grouper because the larger 'coral grouper' species have almost disappeared. Soon these species will be gone as well.

Please be responsible and do not support this dangerous trade in live grouper.

Eddie H. said...

Hey Keith,

This is a topic similar to the controversy of the wild coral trade, which I am a supporter of. My living depends the trade, so does many locals. I understand your position, but how to convince the poor locals that their way of making a living (putting food on the table for their families) is wrong? They don't have much choices, not like us and can switch jobs if our ethics are bothered. The answer is aquaculture. There are numerous aquaculture programs going on right now on groupers all over Indonesia. Perhaps one day, it can sustain the world's voracious appetite for the live grouper trade.

Eddie said...

awesome blog!
Please contact me for exporting list.

Thank you,


Dear Eddie

We are buying live coral fish and all other seafood form Indonesia

Kindly contact us or refer the live fish packer for us.


Aquaculture Northern Bali

November Corals Collection Part. 1

November Corals Collection Part. 2

Aquaculture - November Shipment

Coral Showcase - September 2008 Inventory

Holding Facility's Corals Collection Showcase 2007