ProActive Vessel Registration in Indonesia’s small-scale tuna fisheries

Find out about the collaborative ProActive Vessel Registration pilot – trialling the system in one-by-one vessels in Indonesia.
Applying PVR sticker to a registered hand-line fishing vessel, Ambon, Indonesia. Photo © AP2HI/IPNLF

Established by the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), the PVR is an online, voluntary registry of fishing vessel owners – which mainly records large-scale purse-seine vessel commitments to sustainability and management measures. The PVR aims to encourage responsible fishing and improving traceability, which should ultimately benefit fishers’ economic wellbeing. 

In collaboration with Asosiasi Perikanan Pole and Line, dan Hand Line Indonesia (AP2HI), Masyarakat dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI) and the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) supported a pilot to register one-by-one vessels in Indonesia on the PVR in 2015. This project was funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

Supply Chain relevance

The Republic of Indonesia is one of the world’s largest tuna producers, contributing more than 15 percent of global production. It is important that this valuable resource is sustainably managed, for the benefit of Indonesia’s people, environment, and economy. IPNLF are working alongside other stakeholders to support and drive forward work within the Indonesian Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), with the aim of achieving Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for Indonesian coastal tuna fisheries (pole-and-line/handline).

Product integrity is vital for maintaining trust throughout the tuna supply chain. The MSC has a dual element to its certification – sustainability of the fishery itself and Chain of Custody (supply chain traceability). Improving traceability brings Indonesia one-step closer towards achieving certification for its tuna fisheries. Fishing for tuna by pole-and-line/hand-line is widely regarded as the most environmentally responsible and labour-rich method of catching tuna, meaning that fishers or companies claiming to sell such fish may receive a premium price for their catch; thus traceability within these fisheries is paramount. It is important that all pole-and-line/hand-line product is ‘what it says on the tin’ so that tuna buyers can purchase with confidence and fishers are recognised and rewarded for operating with these low- environmental impact catch methods.

The aim of the PVR project was to encourage and enable Indonesia’s small-scale tuna fisheries to voluntarily register their vessels. Registration is supports improved communication between small-scale fisheries and the rest of the supply chain (e.g. processors and purchasers) who are looking for practical tools to validate sustainability and traceability claims. By registering on the PVR, vessels communicate their commitment to comply with RFMO requirements such as operating a licensed and registered vessel, participating in observer programs, and not featuring on RFMO IUU lists. In addition, vessels also adopt voluntary commitments, such as reporting catch and effort, and adopting shark finning policies. To ensure compliance, vessels are audited by an independent assessor.

Registered vessels receive a unique identification number, and a plaque featuring a barcode. This barcode enables fishery inspectors and enumerators to check a vessels records in the field, simply by using a smartphone. It also provides the foundation for tracing tuna products through the supply chain back to the catching vessel.

Wider policy and management implications

The Indonesian Minister of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), under Minister Pudjiastuti’s guidance, is clamping down on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing activities within Indonesian waters. Among many new regulations and schemes being implemented, MMAF are working to collate a list of all fishing vessels that are legally sanctioned to fish in Indonesian waters. Through vessel registration, IPNLF and partners are assisting MMAF to identify operational, non-operational and decommissioned pole-and-line and hand-line vessels, to verify that operational vessels are legally registered, and promote compliance with fishery regulations and RFMO conservation management measures.

Hand-line fishing vessel registered on the ProActive Vessel Registration, Ambon, Indonesia. Photo © AP2HI/IPNLF

​Collaborative progress

This project is a prime case study for collaborative progress. Bringing together the NGOs IPNLF, Masyarakat dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI), and the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) – together with the industry association Asosiasi Perikanan Pole and Line, dan Hand Line Indonesia (AP2HI). IPNLF were pleased to collaborate on this Pro-Active Vessel Registration (PVR) pilot in Indonesia’s small-scale tuna fisheries and look forward, with our partners, to sharing more outcomes as the project progresses.