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Milkfish in Indonesia; characteristics and distribution of production

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Review by
13 Jan 2024 2:00 PM

Image Source : Ikan bandeng

Milkfish (Chanos chanos) plays a significant role in the fishing industry in Indonesia. This type of fish is herbivorous when young and switches to omnivorous when mature, showing its adaptability to changes in diet throughout its life cycle. Its unique body characteristics, such as its cylindrical shape and small scales, are characteristics that differentiate it from other types of fish. The presence of milkfish can also be found widely in various regions of Indonesia, showing its wide distribution and great development potential in the fisheries sector.

In the context of the distribution of production in Indonesia, milkfish is one of the fishery commodities that is evenly distributed in various regions. The existence of the largest producers such as East Java and South Sulawesi shows their central role in contributing to national milkfish production. A more in-depth analysis of the geographical distribution of this production can provide valuable insights for the sustainable development of the milkfish fisheries industry in the future.

Characteristics of milkfish

Milkfish has characteristics that differentiate it from other types of fish. In general, this fish has a long and dense body, with a straight, symmetrical shape and tends to be slender. Its body is equipped with dorsal and pectoral fins which tend to be curved, as well as a tail fin which is branched and rather large in size. The color of milkfish tends to be scaly and shining silver, giving it an attractive appearance when in the water.

The maximum length that milkfish can reach is supposed to reach 1.8 meters, but in reality, the most commonly found size does not exceed 1 meter. However, milkfish can weigh up to 14 kilograms in their natural habitat. The combination of an aerodynamic body shape and the beautiful color of its scales makes milkfish an important object in fisheries and cultivation activities.

Apart from that, one of the interesting characteristics of milkfish is its change in diet throughout its life. When young, milkfish tend to be herbivorous, which means they eat plants and algae. However, as these fish grow older, they become omnivorous, meaning they can consume a wide variety of foods, including plankton, small fish, and various other types of small marine organisms. This change shows the adaptability of milkfish in dealing with changes in environmental conditions and food availability in the surrounding area.

The best quality milkfish

Distribution of milkfish production in Indonesia

Indonesia is one of the largest milkfish producers in the world, with significant production spread across various regions. According to milkfish production data in 2020, total production reached 330.26 thousand tons. East Java was the region with the largest production, reaching 94.6 thousand tons, followed by South Sulawesi and Central Java with production of 87.4 thousand tons and 39.16 thousand tons respectively.

In 2022, milkfish production will continue to increase significantly in Indonesia, reaching 785,719 tonnes with an economic value of IDR 16.53 trillion. South Sulawesi Province is one of the largest contributors, contributing 211,195 tonnes of total national production. On the other hand, North Maluku recorded the lowest production contribution, only reaching 0.13 tonnes.

Consistent growth in milkfish production highlights South Sulawesi's important role in the industry, while challenges may be faced by North Maluku to increase its contribution. The increase in milkfish production not only reflects significant economic potential but also shows significant variations between provinces in the fishing industry in Indonesia.

Potential for production development in South Sulawesi

Seeing that South Sulawesi is one of the largest producers of milkfish in Indonesia, this province has great potential for further development in the fishing industry. Environmental advantages such as suitable water temperature and availability of natural food provide a solid basis for the growth of milkfish. By optimizing the utilization of this potential, South Sulawesi has the potential to become a major contributor in increasing milkfish production in the future.

To achieve this potential, active support from local governments, industry players and local communities is very necessary. Steps such as improving fisheries infrastructure, education related to fisheries, especially milkfish, and developing innovative cultivation technology can be the key to success in developing the fisheries sector in South Sulawesi. Through close collaboration between various parties, South Sulawesi can optimize its potential and achieve a more significant position in its contribution to milkfish production at the national level.

One of the milkfish production ponds in South Sulawesi

Challenges in the milkfish industry in Indonesia

Even though the milkfish industry in Indonesia has achieved significant growth, challenges remain and need to be overcome to ensure the continuity of this industry. One of the main challenges faced is maintaining the sustainability of milkfish resources in the wild. High fishing activity in the sea poses a risk of overfishing, which can be detrimental to the marine ecosystem as a whole.

To overcome this challenge, good monitoring and management of marine waters which are the habitat of milkfish are needed. This effort is key to preventing overfishing and damaging marine ecosystems. Apart from that, a sustainable milkfish farming approach also needs to be implemented. The use of environmentally friendly technology and cultivation practices that support environmental sustainability can help maintain a balance between milkfish production and conservation of natural resources.

The importance of support from government, industry and society in implementing sustainable practices cannot be ignored. Active collaboration from various parties will be the key to overcoming this challenge and keeping the milkfish industry sustainable in the long term.

Economic and nutritional contributions

The milkfish industry in Indonesia not only makes a large economic contribution but also plays a crucial role in meeting people's nutritional needs. Milkfish meat is known to be rich in nutrients, including protein, omega-3, and various types of essential vitamins. Milkfish consumption can make a significant contribution in supporting public health, especially in achieving balanced nutrition.

With increasing awareness of the importance of a healthy diet, milkfish can become an integral part of people's diets. Increasing the consumption of milkfish as a source of high-quality protein and other nutrients can have a positive impact on overall public health. With the right promotion, people can get more recognize The nutritional benefits of milkfish as a healthy and nutritious food choice.

Apart from contributing to meeting people's nutritional needs, the potential for milkfish exports can also be an opportunity to increase state income through international trade. By maintaining the quality and sustainability of production, Indonesia can expand the milkfish export market, opening up new opportunities for the growth of the fishing industry, and in turn, making a further contribution to the country's economy.


Milkfish, with its unique characteristics, plays an important role in the Indonesian fishing industry. The significant distribution of production in various regions makes it one of the strategic fisheries commodities. East Java and South Sulawesi, as the largest producers, play a central role in the growth of this industry, showing broad diversification and development potential at the regional level.

To ensure the sustainability of the milkfish industry in the future, government support is key. Policy measures that support growth and innovation in cultivation technology could provide a significant boost. In addition, awareness of environmental sustainability needs to be integrated into industrial practices. In this way, this industry can not only grow economically but also maintain the balance of the marine ecosystem.

Not only does it provide a positive economic impact, the milkfish industry also has the potential to improve public health through its high nutritional contribution. With its abundant nutritional content, milkfish can be an important element in efforts to fulfill people's nutritional needs. With strategic steps and collaboration between the government, industry players and society, Indonesia can continue to lead in the production and sustainable use of milkfish, creating a positive impact that includes economic and health aspects.


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Created by
13 Jan 2024 9:38 AM
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13 Jan 2024 1:00 PM

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