One-by-one tuna fisheries have been a key part of Anova Food, LLC’s sustainability journey from the company’s early beginnings, starting with the sourcing of yellowfin tuna from Indonesia’s handline fisheries in 1997. The company’s support for small-scale fisheries and sustainability was formalised in 2009 through the Fishing & Living initiative. The aim is to proactively engage in environmental and social improvements in tuna fisheries, with a special focus on small-scale fisheries. Since then, its environmental initiatives have mainly focused on activities that assist one-by-one tuna fisheries with meeting the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard through a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP), such as data collection activities, that can inform sustainable fisheries management and ensure that handline tuna fisheries are taken into account in the decision making process (e.g. port sampling, logbooks, vessel monitoring systems, vessel registration).
As the Anova-funded FIP activities grew in scale and success, it was clear that the stewardship of an independent body was needed, which is why in 2013, it helped establish the Indonesian foundation Masyarakat Dan Perikanan Indonesian (MDPI). As well as taking over those activities, MDPI also grew capacity to collaborate with a wider set of stakeholders, including the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, governmental agencies such as USAID, Indonesian and international universities, as well as local and international NGOs such as the International Pole & Line Foundation. Anova became an IPNLF Member in 2017, and has since collaborated on promoting the interests of one-by-one tuna fisheries. Crucially, IPNLF, MDPI and the Indonesian Handline and Pole-and-line Association (AP2HI) recently formed a new alliance to work together towards common goals.
Anova’s social programs started small with tailored activities such as an alternative livelihood pilot, donations to local schools and orphanages, natural disaster relief and other outreach events. However, its social impact grew tremendously as it initiated the piloting of the Fair Trade USA wild capture fisheries standards in 2013. This led to the first Fair Trade certified wild capture fishery in the world in October 2014. Along the way, the program grew from 150 to over 800 fishermen, generating over USD 280,000 in cumulative premium on top of the price paid for their catch as of December 2018. The fund generated by the Fair Trade program is used at the community level in a variety of ways that support the communities’ welfare, including children’s education, illness and bereavement, as well as donations to community centers and trainings on topics such as post-harvest handling aimed at improving catch quality and subsequently improving incomes.
At least 30% of the fund must be used towards conservation projects such as education on endangered, threatened and protected (ETP) species, improving waste management systems and facilities, creating or enforcing a marine or terrestrial protected area, developing an environmental education program, or fisher training and data collection efforts. Through the fishermen associations, the Fair Trade program has also empowered fishermen to have a voice in policy and decision-making processes by being represented at the provincial level co-management committees. This will further help ensure that one-by-one tuna fisheries are equitably taken into account by fisheries managers.