Seafood Expo Global attendees share enthusiasm for one-by-one tuna

Team-IPNLF joined thousands of stakeholders for the largest gathering of the international seafood industry in Brussels to champion one-by-one tuna to a global audience
Seafood Expo Global (SEG), the biggest annual gathering of the international seafood industry

Seafood Expo Global (SEG), the biggest annual gathering of the international seafood industry that’s held in Brussels every spring, is one of those can’t-miss events for IPNLF. With so many tuna buyers, suppliers, producers, processors, exporters, NGOs etc. attending every year, this annual pilgrimage presents us with one of the most time-effective means of staying connected with those industry players that we know, as well as providing an ideal opportunity to establish new relationships. It also gives the far-flung IPNLF team a chance to get together for some essential face-to-face time!

Reflecting on the many discussions that we had at this year’s SEG, it was abundantly clear that one-by-one caught tuna has become synonymous with environmentally and socially responsible food production in many of the world’s biggest markets, also that the interest and engagement in this traditional sector have reached unprecedented levels. Indeed, we found were increasingly being sought out for conversations relating to these fisheries, as well as for insight into the demand and availability of such products. 

In addition to attending and participating in several of the seminars that were built into the SEG programme, IPNLF again hosted a special roundtable meeting for our Members. At this gathering, Members were brought up to speed with our progress over the past year and informed of our plans for the months ahead, with particular emphasis on this year’s Annual Session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) in La Réunion (23-27 May). They learned more about and subsequently voiced their support for our strategy to introduce a harvest control rule for skipjack and call for immediate action to be taken to rebuild yellowfin stocks – with the support of our Members and partners these pivotal measures have subsequently been adopted. The meeting also provided a perfect forum to launch our latest Annual Report which is now available online.

With Nilanto Perbowo (Director General of Product Competitiveness) from Indonesia’s Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries in attendance, roundtable attendees also received a comprehensive update on the progress of the Indonesian Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) covering pole-and-line and handline fisheries targeting both yellowfin and skipjack tuna in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, plus associated archipelagic and territorial waters. The aim of this FIP is to improve the Indonesian one-by-one tuna fisheries’ sustainability and to meet the criteria for MSC certification, and it was explained that a recent evaluation had found they were indeed making excellent progress and are on target for achieving this major goal.

Nilanto also highlighted the country’s determination to tackle illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing in its waters, as well as ways in which it will encourage investment in its seafood industry and its plans to increase its fisheries exports, particularly to European markets.

The roundtable was followed by two separate speaker/networking events the following day. Attendees were invited to join IPNLF on the Maldives Seafood Processors and Exporters Association (MSPEA) stall to learn more about one-by-one tuna. Later in the afternoon, IPNLF co-hosted a networking reception on the Indonesian Pavilion. Representatives from the supply chain joined us for drinks and canapés – including fresh handline caught yellowfin tuna sashimi generously provided by our Member Anova Seafood! Invited speakers - including Nilanto Perbowo and the Indonesian Ambassador to Belgium, Yuri O. Thamrin - shared animated and encouraging words on the crucial role of trust and traceability in the one-by-one tuna supply chain and the huge market potential for products derived from such fisheries. Martin Purves (IPNLF) also gave attendees an update on the Indonesian one-by-one tuna FIP progress followed by words from Mr. Siegfried Bank (CBI).

It was abundantly clear from the dialogues that followed these presentations that stakeholders feel good progress is being made in this regard, and that if we can further scale up this momentum then we will provide the perfect environment in which such fisheries can thrive.

While there’s a lot of ground to cover over the next year, it’ll be fascinating to see just how much further the one-by-one tuna sector has progressed when SEG reconvenes in April 2017.