Delegates at this year’s 3rd Bali Tuna Conference (BTC) and 6th International Coastal Tuna Business Forum (ICTBF) witnessed the ratification of a special joint agreement between the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) and 14 buyers, brands and retailers that have made a commitment to preferentially source Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified one-by-one tuna over non-certified tuna from Indonesia’s tuna fisheries, once certified.
In recognition of the potential that these fisheries have to spearhead change in Indonesia’s fisheries management, IPNLF initiated a two-year project in collaboration with local industry body, Asosiasi Perikanan Pole & Line dan Handline (AP2HI) and Masyarakat dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI), an Indonesian NGO focused on the livelihoods of small-scale and artisanal fishermen, in November 2017. This project will drive improvements in Indonesia’s pole-and-line and handline tuna fisheries to enable them to meet the MSC standard for environmental sustainability. A number of these fisheries are set to enter full assessment against the MSC standard before the end of 2019.
A total of 14 IPNLF Member companies, Anova US, Fish Tales, Followfood, Frinsa, Green World Company, Migros, MMP LLC, Ocean Brands, Sainsbury’s, Salica, Sea Delight, Tri Marine, Tuna Solutions and World Wise Foods, declared support for the agreement between MMAF and IPNLF that seeks to ensure continued cooperation to build a common understanding on the importance of MSC certification for stakeholders; prioritise work steams and activities to further accelerate the MSC process; promote the value of MSC certification; strengthen collaboration and commitments and continue knowledge sharing.
The commitment was signed by M. Zulficar Mochtar, Director General of Capture Fisheries for MMAF and John Burton, Chairman of IPNLF at the closing of the BTC and ICTBF events, which took place in Bali Indonesia from 31 May to 1 June 2018. These two back-to-back events were attended by over 250 local and international stakeholders, providing an ideal opportunity to demonstrate the very important contribution that Indonesia’s one-by-one tuna fisheries can make to increasing Indonesia’s seafood exports while also being aligned with the government’s main goals of sovereignty, sustainability and prosperity in managing Indonesia’s oceans. Indonesia’s Minister of MMAF, Susi Pudjiastuti, who has won a reputation as a fearless campaigner in her battle to curb illegal and unsustainable fishing, underlined the importance of these fisheries to coastal communities. During the closing ceremony, she said, “Everyone that is living in the coastal [community] must have the benefit of their resources… Indonesian companies have to commit to traceability and certification, because without certification we cannot sell [tuna] for a premium price.
It’s time for all of us now to remember that the ocean, with all its resources, needs to be sustained… For your businesses, for us and for our next generation to be able to see… enjoy and eat tuna and many other kind of seafood.”
Zulficar Mochtar, said, “MMAF welcomes the support from IPNLF, to reaffirm our mutual interest in strengthening Indonesia’s tuna market competitiveness through the implementation of MSC certification. In doing so, both the Ministry and IPNLF acknowledge each other’s objective in pursuing MSC for one-by-one tuna fisheries, for the sustainability of the fisheries, security of markets, premium price of tuna products, reputation enhancement and future opportunities.”
Adrian Lehmann, Purchaser for Canned Tuna at Migros, said, “We work hard to provide our customers with sustainable seafood products, which is why Migros has committed to preferentially sourcing MSC-certified one-by-one tuna product once it becomes available in Indonesia. We’re delighted to see the alignment between the MMAF, IPNLF and AP2HI and the work they are doing to support coastal tuna fisheries and communities in the country.”
Commenting on outcomes of BTC and ICTBF, Martin Purves, Managing Director of IPNLF, says, “The power of partnerships was clearly demonstrated at this year’s Bali Tuna Conference and International Coastal Tuna Business Forum. Backed by many of our Members, this new commitment strengthens our collaboration with MMAF and highlights the growing momentum behind this project. The importance of sustainable resources to Indonesia’s coastal communities cannot be over emphasised and the Minister’s personal interest in the success of this initiative is greatly encouraging.”
Alongside this commitment, the interim harvest strategy framework was debuted at the BTC and ICTBF. Developed by the Indonesian authorities, this much-awaited policy is a vital component in the implementation of sustainable fisheries management. The conference provided an ideal platform for stakeholders to provide feedback to MMAF on the implementation of the strategy.