Indonesia, the world’ s biggest tuna fishing nation, this week hosted the country’s third International Coastal Tuna Business Forum, which assessed the many potential economic and social benefits of supporting the country’s pole and line and hand line fishery.
The event, which was organised by Indonesia’s Ministry for Regional Development (KPDT), the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) and the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) and the WWF, also hosted the official inauguration of the new task force, called Asosiasi Perikanan Pole and Line dan Handline Indonesia (AP2HI), which now drives the development of the country’s coastal tuna fisheries.
As a large archipelagic nation, Indonesia has extensive coastal communities where traditional fishing methods create both direct and indirect jobs for thousands of people. In fact, fisheries in Indonesia employ around 11 per cent of the nation’s workforce.
Indonesia’s government believes that supporting the development of sustainable pole and line and hand line tuna fisheries will be of significant benefit to the country’s economy. Therefore, MMAF has made it a priority to enhance its activities in the sector and is initiating a number of projects that will support disadvantaged coastal communities that depend on the tuna fishery. In line with these activities, the Ministry for Development of Disadvantaged Regions has provided regional workshops and fishing gear for small scale fishers as well as providing access to potential buyers and bridging the in-country gaps between fishermen, canneries and buyers.
Saut P. Hutagalung, Director General of Fisheries Product Processing and Marketing MMAF says: “We believe the collective efforts of Indonesia’s government and fishing industry, together with the support of international partners and supply-chains, can provide sustainable and equitable tuna fisheries – bringing invaluable benefit to coastal communities around Indonesia while also fulfilling the unprecedented demand of countries and companies seeking to source tuna responsibly. We believe this is particularly important as tuna contributed around 18 percent of the country’s total fish exports in 2013, valued at $764 million.”
With the support of IPNLF, Indonesia has already initiated a number of projects to support disadvantaged coastal communities that depend on the tuna fishery, including the creation of AP2HI, which co-sponsored this year’s forum. AP2HI is positioned to be Indonesia’s number one industry association, with the aspiration to represent over 75 per cent of the entire industry in the coming 18 months.
The main aims of AP2HI are:
• Gather, unify and act as a “shared voice” for the diverse businesses engaged in Indonesia’s pole and line and hand line industry
• Promote a fair, transparent and sustainable utilisation of the resource
• Ensure the industry conducts itself in a responsible and insightful manner in regards to both the environment and dependent communities
• Encourage and facilitate partnerships between companies upstream and downstream
• Drive innovation, transparency and traceability
• Represent and promote the industry both nationally and internationally to foster further support for Indonesia’s coastal tuna fisheries
Yanti Djuari, AP2HI Chairwoman, commented: “AP2HI has quickly built up a solid representation of members from across the value chain, including fishers, producers, processors and exporters for both pole and line and hand line. Apart from promoting coastal tuna fisheries, AP2HI is active in innovating the industry to become more efficient and aligned to international markets requirements – including Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification. As AP2HI represents the industry, once certified the Chain of custody will be open to the entire pole and line and hand line supply chain to engage.”
John Burton, IPNLF Chairman, said: “The International Pole & Line Foundation is delighted with the speed and manner that AP2HI has established itself. The association represents a shared voice for all involved in pole and line and hand line fisheries across Indonesia. IPNLF is pleased to have supported founding the AP2HI task force and we believe this demonstrates the commitment of industry to ensure the viability of environmentally and socially responsible fisheries.”