Eight Indonesian One-by-One Tuna Fisheries Embark Upon MSC Certification

LONDON, UK – The International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF), the only non-profit association that is solely committed to promoting responsible one-by-one tuna fisheries and supply chains, welcomes the confirmation that eight Indonesian pole-and-line and handline tuna fisheries will enter the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification process. Working in close collaboration with their local partner, Asosiasi Perikanan Pole & Line dan Handline Indonesia (AP2HI), the Foundation commended the highly focused, collaborative endeavours of multiple stakeholders that have enabled these fisheries to reach this important milestone.

The eight fisheries engaged in the process are scattered throughout the Indonesian archipelago, from North Sulawesi and North Maluku, to the Banda Sea, and East and West Flores in the south. They comprise highly selective, small-scale operations which harvest tuna with very low impact on other ocean species and the environment. In Indonesia, the one-by-one tuna sector is often a family or community business, and a major contributor towards local economies and food security. For many years, IPNLF has been helping to preserve this important economic and cultural heritage by supporting local capacity-building initiatives.

Commenting on the announcement, Trian Yunanda, Director of Fisheries Resources Management at the Indonesian Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), said, “IPNLF and AP2HI have been working closely with MMAF on improving data collection and fisheries monitoring programmes, leading to more effective management of these fisheries. All of us need to recognise the important role that truly sustainable fisheries, that contribute to environmental, social and economic improvements, can make to the livelihoods of our fishers, and to the viability of our businesses. These actions lead to healthier oceans for us and for future generations.”

Jeremy Crawford, Southeast Asia Director of IPNLF, praised the determined efforts of AP2HI members and other stakeholders and the vital support provided by the Ministry in progressing the eight fisheries towards full assessment. “We are pleased to be part of this important process of building value in the local one-by-one tuna supply chain. Together with our local partners and with the support of the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, IPNLF has been able to realise significant operational and social improvements.”

These improvement programmes include data collection and monitoring, and are often carried out by local observers who monitor and collect valuable information at sea as well as portside. At sea, information on the vessels and crew is collected, along with data on bycatch levels, bait composition and consumption levels. On land, enumerators record catch-by-catch information on the volume of the different tuna species landed, bycatch levels and operational information such as the duration of trips, number of crew on board and vessel characteristics. These data improvements can inform better decision making, ultimately leading to more effective fisheries management.

“Getting these eight fisheries to this crucial point has required a huge collective effort and I am very proud of the manner in which all parties involved continue to pull together – to build healthier fisheries and healthier oceans – now and for future generations. Our hope is that these fisheries will soon be able to supply consumers with sustainable one-by-one caught tuna. This initiative will not only help improve the livelihoods of our traditional one-by-one fishermen, but will also ensure a sustainable industry,” says Janti Djuari, Chairperson of AP2HI.

The MSC Fisheries Standard uses three core principles against which fisheries are assessed: sustainable fish stocks, minimising environmental impact so that other species and habitats within the ecosystem remain healthy, and effective fisheries management. In addition to operational improvements, the Indonesian fisheries are also implementing tangible social improvements, such as internationally accepted codes of conduct and labour standards.

The demand for sustainably caught tuna that includes social and economic benefits is steadily increasing.  International markets have already expressed their commercial interest in the tuna produced by these fisheries and stand ready to buy. In June 2018, a special joint agreement was signed between MMAF, IPNLF and 14 buyers, brands and retailers with the commitment made by these supply chains to preferentially source MSC-certified one-by-one tuna from Indonesia’s tuna fisheries over non-certified tuna, once these products become available.

“Promises such as these, provide further validation of the critical role played by fisheries that put the three pillars of sustainability – environmental, social and economic benefits – at the forefront of their operations. It is the only way to ensure that these vulnerable communities retain access to food security and economic wellbeing in the long-term,” says Jeremy Crawford, Southeast Asia Director of IPNLF.