Indonesia is the world’s biggest tuna fishing nation and the resource is of huge importance to its economy. While pole-and-line fishing (known locally as “huhate”) is widely practiced, in general the country’s fishing industry does not distinguish between pole-and-line and purse seine tuna. As a result, it is believed a large proportion of pole-and-line and hand-line caught tuna ends up being sold as purse seine.
However, stakeholders in Indonesia and beyond believe the growing international demand for tuna caught using these traditional methods could be of invaluable benefit to Indonesia’s fishery, coastal communities and the country’s overall economy.
Indonesia hosted the country’s second International Coastal Tuna Business Forum on 27-29 May, 2013, to assess the potential economic and social benefits of supporting the country’s pole-and-line and hand-line fishery.
The Forum was co-sponsored by Indonesia’s Ministry for Regional Development (KPDT), the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) and the IPNLF. It was attended by Indonesia’s commercial fishing and processing sectors as well as leading international tuna brands, retailers, government officials and other stakeholders. These parties unanimously agreed that the sustainable development of Indonesia’s pole-and-line and hand-line tuna fishery should be prioritised.
Representatives from the Indonesian Ministries told Forum delegates they intend to initiate a number of projects that will support disadvantaged coastal communities that depend on the tuna fishery. And the event closed with the compilation of draft steps that will move Indonesia’s fishery toward the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) process.
In line with this move, the Indonesian government will look to align itself closer to the regional fisheries management organisation (RFMO) in the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). The country is currently a co-operating non-member in the WCPFC and hopes to become a full member by the end of this year.
John Burton, IPNLF co-founder, comments: “There is a genuine, deep-rooted desire in Indonesia to move forward with sustainability issues, which was demonstrated by the large number of delegates at the forum and the discussions that took place. There was significant representation from industry, international buyers and NGOs and we were all delighted to learn from the Indonesian Ministries that the government wants to ensure the pole-and-line and hand-line fishery is sustainably managed and carefully progressed in the future. There is no doubt this approach will be of invaluable long-term benefit to many of the country’s disadvantaged coastal communities.”