Greater stakeholder collaboration is essential to bringing continued improvements to tuna fisheries and to meeting the fast-growing global consumer demand for pole-and-line and handline tuna, delegates heard at the opening day of Indonesia’s fourth annual International Coastal Tuna Business Forum (ICTBF).
Delivering the keynote address on day one of ICTBF, Dr Mohamed Shainee, Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture for the Maldives, urged Indonesia to join the Maldives in championing the interests of coastal nations at the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC).
Minister Shainee said that the Maldives is ready and willing to be a collaborative partner with Indonesia to bring improved fisheries management to the IOTC and also to help the country achieve its goal of achieving MSC certification for its pole-and-line and handline fisheries, which will provide Indonesian coastal tuna with much improved market access.
"I want to assure the Indonesian fisheries authorities and the country’s tuna industry that the Maldives, together with NGO partners, will support Indonesia in its aim of MSC certification,” said Minister Shainee.
He said the Maldives would share its technical expertise, its insight into gaining MSC certification and meeting its conditions as well as how to mitigate social concerns.
Together Indonesia and the Maldives account for around 30 per cent of the tuna caught in the IOTC. Both countries place a strong value on benefitting coastal communities through their fisheries and their pole-and-line and handline industries provide many jobs in the catching and processing sectors.
Indonesia also represents Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) interests and has the opportunity to share learning across Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs), added Minister Shainee.
In response to Minister Shainee’s address, Saut P Hutagalung, the Republic of Indonesia’s Director General for Fisheries Product Processing and Marketing at the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF), said: “Sovereignty, sustainability and prosperity are core to the Government of Indonesia’s fisheries agenda. We recognise that collaboration, both within our own industry and with international partners, can bring benefit. We are grateful to the Maldives for its support so far and, as a shared CPC in IOTC, see importance in our work with them.”
Also commenting on the keynote address, John Burton, Chairman of the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF), said: “Minister Shainee’s expression today at the ICTBF shows a spirit of international collaboration that is so greatly needed in this sector. The Maldives and Indonesia can join forces and create critical mass of MSC-certified pole-and-line and handline tuna for the global market.”
Commenting as a facilitator at ICTBF, Dr Luky Adrianto, Associate Professor in Adaptive Fisheries Management at Bogor Agricultural University, said: "Industry interests and government interests are shared; such collaborative management is important and can be influential not just for these countries but for the entire region.”