UK-marine science partnership to propel research capacity in Indonesia’s coastal fisheries

A new UK-marine science partnership to support sustainable tuna fisheries in Indonesia has been awarded funding by the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) Global Fisheries Sustainability Fund (GFSF).
© Paul Hilton & IPNLF

Cefas (The Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) and the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) began work this month with the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) and local industry. The GFSF funds projects which help to strengthen knowledge and build capacity for small-scale and developing world fisheries and is specifically aimed at increasing the accessibility of the MSC program by working to reduce barriers fisheries face in achieving the MSC Standard.

The project will build local capacity around data collection and stock assessment on small pelagic species that are commonly used as baitfish in the local pole-and-line tuna fishery. By enhancing data collection capabilities for the baitfish species, this initiative will support efforts to achieve MSC certification for skipjack and yellowfin tuna fisheries in Eastern Indonesia, the first of which officially entered the assessment process in June 2017.

MSC certification is awarded to fisheries which can demonstrate their sustainability, ensuring continued ability to support the fish stock and wider ecosystem, as well as future livelihoods for fishers. However, due to a lack of data, small-scale tuna fisheries can face challenges in demonstrating their eligibility.

Through this partnership Cefas and IPNLF will work closely with MMAF and the Coordinating Ministry for Maritime Affairs (CMMRA) to understand and identify solutions on the impacts of the fishery in line with MSC criteria. Simultaneously, training will be provided for fisheries scientists and managers, to build capacity for similar schemes in other fisheries.

The 12-month project is the first to be commenced as a result of bilateral talks held in Jakarta and London, which produced a UK-Indonesia marine Implementing Agreement. The partnerships' work has developed from the Implementing Agreement and will support effective delivery of the Indonesian marine "Strategic Plan 2015-2019", which seeks to sustainably increase seafood production from Indonesia's wild capture resources and deliver blue economic growth and food security.

Dr Piera Carpi, Fisheries Scientist at Cefas said, "Cefas have a long history of advising UK and international governments on best practice for fisheries data collection and stock assessment. Currently, we are advising the Guyana government and industry bodies on the data needed for MSC certification for their seabob fishery. This collaboration with IPNLF, MMAF and local stakeholders will enable food security and sustainable blue development as identified in MMAF's Strategic Plan."

Since 2014, IPNLF has been working in close collaboration with the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), local industry and NGO partners, to drive the Indonesian pole-and-line tuna fishery improvement project (FIP) with the ultimate goal of achieving MSC certification.

Martin Purves, Managing Director of IPNLF comments, "IPNLF welcomes the opportunity to partner with Cefas, to utilise our collective experience and expertise in support of this capacity building and management initiative in Indonesia. As well as being an integral component of pole-and-line tuna fisheries, baitfish further contributes to the wellbeing of local communities by providing a valuable source of protein for many people. Sustainable management of this resource is essential to ensure the longevity of the pole-and-line fisheries and the wellbeing of those communities connected to them."

Notes to Editors

  1. Cefas (Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science) is an executive agency of the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) within the UK government. It provides ministers and government officials in the UK and internationally with impartial expert advice and evidence relating to marine and closely related environments and is a provider of UK statutory monitoring and inspection services, including national emergency response capabilities. For more information, contact:
  2. The International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) is a not-for-profit organisation that supports one-by-one tuna fisheries through practical fishery projects and stakeholder engagement.
  3. The grant has been made through the Global Fisheries Sustainability Fund (GFSF) program of the Marine Stewardship Council.

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