Toward Indonesian tuna fishing industry sustainability and international recognition

August 3, 2015

As the world’s largest archipelago nation, Indonesia is becoming one of the world’s most important tuna producers, an industry which has an important role in the nation’s economic growth, (FAO, 2014). Therefore, it is paramount that the Indonesian tuna fishing industry is supported so that it is well-managed, sustainable and has a good impact on the environment, business and is internationally recognized.

Eco-label certification process

Asosiasi Perikanan Pole & Line dan Handline Indonesia (AP2HI) is an industry association that wants to be a leader in obtaining Marine Stewardship Council) certification for Indonesia’s pole-and-line and handline tuna fisheries. AP2HI has undertaken concrete steps towards MSC certification for these tuna fisheries in order to reach the market share in American and European Union for certified product tuna products.

“Our ideal is that Indonesia, as one of the world’s largest producer of tuna, can obtain MSC certification, to inform the world that the Indonesian fishery has been sustainably and responsibly managed.” says Agus Budiman, Secretary General of AP2HI.

Agus added, “This is a challenge for us in the management of tuna fisheries sector in Indonesia. Our target is the price. Customers are willing to pay more for a product that does not impact the environment; we can reach a good price that recognized worldwide, by capturing tuna in an environmentally friendly manner.”

The International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF), an organization that supports, develops, and promotes sustainable pole-and-line and handline tuna fisheries worldwide, played an important role in helping Maldives obtain MSC certification. AP2HI, together with IPNLF, is creating programs that focus on improving fishing efficiency and sustainability.

“We hope that the Indonesian pole-and-line and hand-line fishery will develop a strong brand that is synonymous with high quality, sustainable, socially responsible tuna products, and provide a long-term source of jobs and livelihoods. In this way, Indonesia can increase its position and competitiveness within the global market, and the pole-and-line sector can make an important contribution to Indonesia’s continued growth,” says Andrew Harvey, Country Director of IPNLF.

Achieving MSC certification is not easy and needs the cooperation and strong commitment from the government, fishing associations, and NGOs, both national and international, who have the same view for the sustainable fisheries.

Andrew added, “Perhaps the two biggest challenges facing Indonesia are size and experience. On the issue of size, Indonesia is a huge country with expansive marine areas, and this makes communication and coordination difficult. Meanwhile there are very few examples and experience of MSC certified fisheries throughout Southeast Asia. However, IPNLF has been able to share lessons learned and experiences from other nations to assist stakeholders in the Indonesian fishery to evaluate strategies to improve their fishery.”

In the proccess of achieving MSC certification, AP2HI has been working on several programs, including the Fishery Improvement Project (FIP), ProActive Vessel Registration (PVR) scheme, Traning of Trainers (TOT), alternative bait resources.

AP2HI will continue to strengthen cooperation with the Government of Indonesia, and become a government partner in distributing support to the right target. In addition, AP2HI will also increase cooperation with the members who care about the environment and understand the importance of sustainable management of tuna fisheries and continue to promote this issue through seminars, confrences and trainings, in cooperation with IPNLF.

Words by: Kirana Agustina

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