Notification that the PT Citraraja Ampat Canning (PT CRAC), Sorong pole-and-line skipjack and yellowfin tuna fishery could be Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified and supplying products to local and international markets before the end of this year has been welcomed by the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries of Indonesia (MMAF), the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) and its Member companies involved in the supply chain. IPNLF anticipates that certification will be a considerable boost for Indonesian one-by-one tuna supply chains and the country’s entire fisheries sector and will provide a platform for the certification of other fisheries in the region.
In 2016, the Sorong pole-and-line tuna fishery caught and processed 2,647 tonnes of skipjack and 543 tonnes of yellowfin. PT CRAC currently exports this pole-and-line product to markets in Singapore, Malaysia and Europe. By providing jobs for fishers and fish workers, this fishery makes important contributions to local livelihoods and food security.
With the Conformity Assessment Body (CAB) recommending the fishery for MSC certification, it has now entered into the last stage of the certification process. If no objections are lodged during a 15-day objection period that expires on 16 November 2018 then it becomes certified according to the MSC standard.
In a letter of support regarding the MSC certification of the skipjack and yellowfin pole-and-line fishery, Mr Yuliadi, Director of Fisheries Resources Management at MMAF, said MMAF would fully support the actions set out in the Sorong fishery’s Client Action Plan, both in promoting a harvest strategy and harvest control rules at WCPFC for both tuna species and in developing compatible objectives, strategies and harvest controls for Indonesian archipelagic waters. MMAF went further confirming its intention to take forward all actions identified in the Client Action Plan.
Commenting on the recent announcement, Trian Yunanda, Deputy Director for Fisheries Resource Management, MMAF, said, “The certification of the Sorong pole-and-line tuna fishery can pave the way for other Indonesian fisheries trying to achieve MSC certification. This announcement presents a great opportunity for all stakeholders from the government, industry and NGO partners to work collaboratively to improve the sustainability of these important small-scale fisheries.”
Martin Purves, Managing Director of IPNLF, praised the determined efforts of the Sorong pole-and-line tuna fishers, long-standing supply chain Member PT CRAC, and other stakeholders in progressing the fishery through full assessment. He also acknowledged the vital support provided by MMAF.
“We are all delighted that the fishery is almost at the finish line and that MSC certification is within its grasp. This is a well-deserved, landmark moment for all concerned and a very important milestone for Indonesia’s broader fisheries sector and supply chains. Together with MMAF, our overriding hope is that this first certification will pave the way for a host of other fisheries in Indonesia and other countries in the region to become certified, creating more momentum in delivering improved management and greater environmental sustainability.”
There are plenty of opportunities to achieve this aim. For example, in the one-by-one tuna sector alone, thanks to the ground-breaking partnership between the Walton Family Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, IPNLF, Asosiasi Perikanan Pole & Line dan Handline (AP2HI) and Masyaraket dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI), it is expected that six Indonesian one-by-one tuna fisheries will be under full MSC assessment by the end of next year.
“The next steps will build on the progress made in the Sorong fishery and capitalise on the energy and collaborative attitude of stakeholders to take further fisheries into MSC full assessment. To realise this goal, it’s essential that conservation organisations and other stakeholders work together – pooling their knowledge, expertise and resources. Such an approach will maximise their collective endeavours and help expedite the much-needed support given to fishers and coastal communities,” said Purves.
As an example of the collaborative approach that IPNLF follows with other organisations, an MOU was recently signed with WWF-India to ensure both parties work together on behalf of the one-by-one skipjack tuna fishery in the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, a tropical archipelago in the Laccadive Sea, off the coast of Kerala, India. The overriding aim of this commitment is to progress the environmental and social sustainability of this traditional fishery, with the understanding that if carefully managed, the Lakshadweep fishery will be of invaluable benefit to the region’s communities and its overall economy. This strategy also includes taking the fishery to full assessment against the MSC standard.
“This recent agreement prioritises the fishery over everything else. Both IPNLF and WWF-India want to help build a stronger and more commercially competitive one-by-one sector for the Lakshadweep region. While every fishery and supply chain are unique, as we are demonstrating, there are considerable benefits to be had from establishing a framework through which stakeholder parties can work together,” said Purves.