IPNLF in Indonesia

Following the recent news that Indonesia has now joined WCPFC (an IPNLF ambition realised), IPNLF’s Director for Fishery Development, Andrew Bassford, reports on the team’s progress in Indonesia and looks to the year ahead.
Indonesian one-by-one tuna vessel. © Paul Hilton & IPNLF

Over the past twelve months, the International Pole & Line Foundation has made significant headway in in developing this country’s promising pole and line fishery; progress which belies our recent beginnings. As a taster of our success, I list some of our early achievements below. But with a new programme of work on the horizon, this is only the beginning.

So far, we have:

  • Hosted “Pole & Line and Hand line” workshops at the International Coastal Tuna Business Forum (Jakarta).
    By working with the Indonesian Ministry for Regional Development (KPDT) and the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Affairs (MMAF), in both 2012 and 2013 IPNLF brought together representatives from across the supply chain, government and academia, to assess the economic and social benefits pole and line fishing could bring to the country. Fisheries are known to generate 4-5% of Indonesia’s GDP and the Ministry for Regional Development has made it priority to support coastal communities that depend on tuna. The first workshop in 2012 successfully raised the profile of the sector, and participants expressed a desire for this to become an annual meeting. Further to two successive meetings in 2012 and 2013, we are now busy planning the next workshop for May 2014.
  • Facilitated the establishment of Indonesia’s first Industry association focusing on pole and line techniques – the AP2HI.
    The “Asosiasi Perikanan Pole and Line dan Hand Line Indonesia” (translated as Indonesian Pole and Line and Hand Fishing Assocation” and abbreviated to AP2HI) is a major triumph. Holding an MOU with the Ministry of Fisheries & Marine Affairs, the body will foster collaboration and understanding between all stakeholders including industry, government, scientists and NGOs. By connecting all elements of the supply chain, the industry association will be able to share ideas, and implement change in a cohesive, powerful way. Most importantly, the group will be able to act as a client for future Marine Stewardship Council certification, advancing any Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP) work in the meantime.
  • Conducted a major assessment of supply and demand for pole and line tuna.
    In volume terms, Indonesia is the world’s biggest tuna fishing nation. Despite this, the Indonesian canning industry is struggling to meet demand for canned pole and line tuna due to a lack of raw material. IPNLF, through funding received from IPNLF member World Wise Foods, has commissioned a report using a value chain approach to identify how the industry can resolve the gap between supply and demand. After months of travelling around Indonesia’s fisheries, our researcher has now completed his full assessment. The report will be made public in the coming weeks.

Such are our beginnings. But now, we’re looking to widen our scope.

Working with funders across the globe, we’re about to engage in a comprehensive programme of work using market-linked mechanisms, to both help industry work together, and kick-start unique projects which will contribute to wider development throughout the country.
For example, we are already embarking on projects exploring how Indonesia can better manage its baitfish supply, and really drive progress towards MSC certification.

  • Supporting progress towards MSC.
    Marine Stewardship Certification is absolutely essential to the value of Indonesia’s pole and line caught tuna being fully realised by both producers and consumers. Since the establishment of the AP2HI, IPNLF have contracted Richard Banks, an MSC expert advisor, to help develop a FIP framework to guide timely progress on this ambition.
  • Supporting sustainable bait fish management.
    Similarly, establishing a reliable, affordable and sustainable supply of baitfish is crucial to the viability of Indonesia’s pole and line fisheries. IPNLF will work with Bob Gillett to work with AP2HI and MMAF in 2014, to devise a bait recommendation report; a first step towards a more regulated bait fishery. We’ll keep you updated as he travels throughout Indonesia, formulating recommendations on how the AP2HI can improve the fisheries’ sustainability.

As we move forward, we will announce further details of our work, including plans for an onboard observer and traceability programme and further growing industry collaboration.

In the meantime, I leave you with the understanding that fisheries in Indonesia employ 6-7% of the nation’s workforce. If we can develop pole and line fisheries throughout this developing country, we can increase communities’ wellbeing in a sustainable, equitable way; a rare opportunity.

Andrew Bassford is IPNLF’s Director of Fishery Development. He has previously directed the operations of the sustainable Dutch seafood brand “Fishes”, and in 2010, founded “Our Source Consultancy” to promote and engage in sustainable sector development to reduce poverty.