Third Indonesia Tuna Fishery Achieves MSC Certification

MSC collaboration with Indonesian government has been a catalyst for real change on the water – with certification adding over 11,000 tonnes of sustainable yellowfin and skipjack tuna to U.S and European markets

The Indonesia pole-and-line and handline, skipjack and yellowfin tuna of Western and Central Pacific archipelagic waters is the third tuna fishery in Indonesia to meet the globally recognised standard for sustainable fishing, set by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), an environmental not for profit.

The certification signals an encouraging result for the Indonesian Pole and Line and Handline Tuna Fisheries Association (AP2HI) and the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) that manage the fishery and have committed to ensuring all Indonesian tuna fisheries become sustainable.

To be MSC certified, a fishery must show the stock it catches is healthy, that it minimises its impact on the environment and has effective management in place.

Around 60% of the total 11,000 tonnes caught by the certificate holders is yellowfin tuna, distributed as loin, poke (pronounced poh-keh) and saku, while the certified skipjack will be sold as frozen product to export markets in the U.S and UK.

Eight fisheries are involved, consisting of 380 fishing vessels, scattered throughout the Indonesian archipelago from North Sulawesi and North Maluku to the Banda Sea, and East and West Flores.

Independent assessors, N, determined the fishery should be certified following detailed assessments and stakeholder consultations with the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) – the regional body responsible for 60% of the world’s tuna catch – as well as national and provincial government.

As MSC fisheries are expected to meet a high bar for sustainable fishing, the association has eight goals it must meet within five years to retain its certificate, relating to harvest strategies and stock management.

The MSC is working with the fishing industry in Indonesia, to help more fisheries to achieve sustainable fishing.

Members of the Indonesian Pole and Line and Handline Tuna Fisheries Association (AP2HI) have been in a fishery improvement project since 2014 and have been in part supported through MSC’s Fish for Good project.

In 2019, the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) and the MSC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), affirming a joint commitment to strengthening collaboration on sustainable fishing. In May 2020, the North Buru and Maluku Fair Trade Fishing Associations, Indonesian Handline Yellowfin Tuna was certified to the MSC Standards, the second fishery in Indonesia, demonstrating the success of the MoU.

Asia Pacific Director at the Marine Stewardship Council, Patrick Caleo, stated: “We extend our congratulations to AP2HI for their hard work and success in progressing another tuna fishery to achieve MSC certification. Managing various fisheries with different specifications for assessment needs a rigorous strategy and clear implementation.”

Acting Director General of Capture Fisheries, the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Ir. Muhammad Zaini, M.M. said: “Again, we have successfully shown the world our commitment towards sustainable tuna fishing in Indonesia. As the one of the largest tuna producers in the world, it is vital we enable the certification journey through a fisheries improvement project in order to sustainably grow while remaining viable for future livelihoods. Support from stakeholders to our small-scale tuna fisheries which help accelerate progress towards sustainability, is pivotal to this goal. Indonesia is proud to have our third tuna fishery meet the highest global fisheries sustainability standard.”

Chairwoman of the Pole & Line and Handline Fishery Association, Janti Djuari said: “Working together towards sustainable fisheries has been our commitment since 2012. Certification owned by the association is a synergy of collective industry with support from the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, local government, business, IPNLF and other stakeholders – and provides value added to the sustainable skipjack and yellowfin tuna stock. Even though 2020 was coloured by the pandemic impacting the tuna business in Indonesia, this certification is a new start. We are confident that this certification will encourage our members in the association to develop a more sustainable and traceable fishing practice.”

Director of IPNLF Southeast Asia, Jeremy Crawford, said: “We are pleased to be part of this important process of building value in the local one-by-one tuna supply chains. Together with our local partners, and with the support of the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), IPNLF has been able to realise significant improvements in fishery operations, governance, and in securing livelihoods. Members of IPNLF and supply chain partners, such as AP2HI, play an important role in securing the sustainability pillars – environmental, social and economic benefits – which is our first priority. This is the only way to ensure that vulnerable communities are securing access to food security and economic well-being for the long term.”