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Strength in numbers: Team IPNLF convene at SEG2018 to represent one-by-one tuna fisheries

Joanna Eames, IPNLF’s Communications and Outreach Officer, reports back on some of IPNLF’s engagement at the seafood industry’s foremost trade show

The world’s largest seafood exhibition, Seafood Expo Global (SEG), took place in Brussels on April 24-26th. For this year’s gathering, team-IPNLF joined thousands of other seafood enthusiasts, with the biggest team it has ever assembled for any event to date.

Why do we take the annual pilgrimage to SEG?

Not only does this event provide an opportunity to meet with stakeholders interested in one-by-one tuna supply chains, to seek out potential new opportunities, or to learn about upcoming market trends and fishery advances – it also enables us to meet with many of our Members and partners (something that we relish when our membership network is spread across multiple time zones and continents!). With a significant IPNLF presence on the show floor, we were able to cover more ground than ever before and spread our messages about one-by-one fisheries even further. 

A one-by-one convening

To kick-start the show, we hosted our annual Members meeting. IPNLF’s Chairman, John Burton, opened the discussions and then the team followed with a number of important updates on the changing one-by-one tuna landscape, our social responsibility focus and our activities in key geographical regions. Members also got their hands on our hot-off-the-press communications materials including IPNLF’s 2017/18 Annual Report and a new infographic on our contributions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Seeking new opportunities

It was then time for the team to hit the floor. With tuna buyers, suppliers, producers, processors, exporters and NGOs spanning 11 halls, there was plenty to do. Alongside meetings with new contacts, we took the oppotunity to connect with our Members, to gain feedback from them and discuss future projects and opportunities. We thank each of you who took the time to meet with us and look forward to progressing those conversations over the coming months.

An Indonesian focus

This year, for the first time, we shared a booth with our Member and project partner Asosiasi Perikanan Pole & Line dan Handline (AP2HI). It was a real bonus to have a hub where we could engage buyers interested in Indonesia’s one-by-one caught tuna and tell them about our initiative to move the fishery towards Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. 

To highlight our partnership with the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) and to increase the awareness of and commitments to Indonesia’s tuna, the Indonesian Pavilion was transformed on the second day in order to allow 100 guests to join us for drinks, canapés and networking. We heard from esteemed speakers Nilanto Perbowo, Secretary General of MMAF Martin Purves, Managing Director of IPNLF; Abdul Muis Sulaiman, General Manager of AP2HI and Nima Bahramalian of UNIDO Vienna who shared key updates and on-the-ground insights. Amongst the drinks and canapés, conversations on the future of Indonesia’s one-by-one tuna fisheries flowed. We thank MMAF, AP2HI, the Swiss Import Promotion Programme (SIPPO) and UNIDO's SMART-Fish Programme for enabling such an excellent convening!

Showcasing sustainability

Of course, we weren’t the only one-by-one tuna advocate with space on the SEG show floor. We took trips to see our Member’s pavilions and were very impressed with some of the amazing booths that we saw!

SEG confirmed that sustainability is clearly resonating with a growing number of companies. It also highlighted that despite this, there is room to amplify the important messages about the environmental, social and economic benefits of one-by-one tuna fisheries further. This insight and many others provided the IPNLF team with even greater motivation and determination to continue to promote one-by-one fisheries, in order to increase the returns to the responsible fishers and fishing communities that champion them.