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

Find out about the ProActive Vessel Registration pilot for 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 industrial fishing operation’s commitments to sustainability and management measures. The PVR aims to encourage responsible fishing and improve 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 PVR Trial

The PVR aims to encourage and enable tuna fisheries to voluntarily register their vessels. For large-scale industrial fishing operations registration helps to improve communication between 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. Registration also enables, vessels to 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, an independent assessor audits vessels

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

​Collaborative progress

Despite the limitations, this pilot is a prime case study for collaborative progress. Bringing the NGOs IPNLF, Masyarakat dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI) and the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) - together with the industry association Asosiasi Perikanan Pole & Line dan Handline Indonesia (AP2HI). It brought to the fore the issues that need to be addressed in order to effectively implement a traceability initiative in Indonesia, as well as highlighted some of the market opportunities that improved traceability can bring. To thie end, IPNLF is continuing to work with others to find solutions that are fair to fisheries and the coastal communities dependent upon them and can also provide assurances for supply chains and consumers.