As Indonesia’s fisheries minister, Edhy Prabowo was tasked with protecting one of his country’s most precious resources: baby lobsters so tiny one can fit on the tip of a finger.

The waters off the nation’s many islands and archipelagos had once teemed with lobster. But overfishing in recent decades decimated the crustacean’s population, so much so that fishermen turned to catching the hatchlings. They scooped them up by the thousand and shipped them to Vietnamese lobster farms, where the babies are raised to adulthood and sold mostly to dealers in China to meet its enormous demand for seafood.

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