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Indonesia Upholds Its Tuna Industry’s Sustainable Future

Indonesia Upholds Its Tuna Industry's Sustainable Future
Photo Courtesy: MDPI

Amidst the azure waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, Indonesia’s commitment to sustainable tuna fisheries management shines bright under the leadership of sustainability activist Thilma Komaling and industry pioneer Robert Tjoanda. These two prominent figures in Indonesia’s tuna industry and natural resources management stand at the forefront of the nation’s commitment to sustainable fisheries. Their collaborative efforts and innovative strategies have propelled Indonesia into a global leader in responsible tuna resource stewardship.

Situated strategically between the Pacific and Indian Oceans, Indonesia boasts expansive territorial waters and abundant islands, making it a vital player in the international seafood industry. With a staggering fisheries potential of 12.01 million tons annually, Indonesia contributes significantly to global tuna production, harvesting an impressive 1,490,637 tons of various tuna species in 2022 alone. Tuna remains a cornerstone of Indonesia’s economy, providing livelihoods for millions across the archipelago. As Indonesia navigates these complexities, the nation remains steadfast in pursuing a balanced approach reconciling economic development with environmental conservation.

Nestled within the heart of the Coral Triangle, an area renowned for its unparalleled marine biodiversity, Indonesia boasts one of the world’s most extensive Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). Covering 5.8 million square kilometers, this vast maritime territory consists of 0.3 million square kilometers of territorial sea, 2.8 million square kilometers of archipelagic waters, and 2.7 million square kilometers of an exclusive economic zone (EEZ). This territory sustains the livelihoods of millions and harbors a diverse array of fish species crucial for global food security.

Recognizing the importance of ensuring the sustainability of tuna fisheries, Indonesia has implemented proactive measures to foster responsible governance and conservation of tuna resources. With a vast fleet of tuna fishing vessels and 1.3 million fishermen as of 2022, the country understands the necessity for collaborative efforts in managing tuna resources effectively. Key initiatives include quota-based policies, the Tuna Fisheries Management Plan, sustainable fishing protocols, enhanced data collection, and diplomatic advocacy for fairer quota allocations.

At the heart of Indonesia’s approach lies the Harvest Strategy, launched in June 2023. This strategy integrates social, economic, and environmental considerations to preserve healthy and sustainable tuna stocks. Thilma Komaling, Strategic Lead for the Indonesia Tuna Consortium, emphasizes the need for proactive collaboration among stakeholders to harness the country’s fish resources effectively.

Indonesia Upholds Its Tuna Industry's Sustainable Future

Photo Courtesy: Harta Samudra

Championing Sustainability through MSC Certification

In a significant milestone, one of Indonesia’s major suppliers unveiled MSC-certified tuna products in April 2023, highlighting the growing demand for sustainable tuna stocks. Robert Tjoanda, director of Harta Samudra, stresses the importance of collaborating with local fishing communities to promote responsible consumption and production. Tjoanda’s dedication to sustainability was evident when Harta Samudra introduced its MSC-certified tuna product in April 2023. This milestone underscores Indonesia’s growing reliance on sustainable tuna stocks and reflects Tjoanda’s vision of collaborating with local small-scale fishing communities to preserve traditional wisdom in tuna resource conservation. By offering domestically produced, sustainably certified fresh tuna, Tjoanda aims to encourage responsible consumption practices while supporting the livelihoods of local fishermen. Furthermore, Tjoanda’s involvement with the Indonesian Pole and Line and Handline Fisheries Association (AP2HI), which received MSC certification in 2021, demonstrates his commitment to upholding practices that ensure healthy fish stocks, minimize environmental impact, and showcase effective management strategies.

Indonesia Upholds Its Tuna Industry's Sustainable Future

Photo Courtesy: Tuna Consortium

2024: The Year of Tuna Indonesia

Indonesia’s bold declaration of 2024 as the Year of Tuna boosts domestic demand for tuna, elevates its economic value within Indonesia, and provides crucial support to local fishermen and communities.

Supporting the initiative, the Indonesian Tuna Consortium program is revolutionizing tuna fisheries management through a collaborative, science-based approach to stakeholders covering 18 provinces in the country. Through partnerships and advocacy of its members, Yayasan Konservasi Alam Nusantara, Masyarakat dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI) Foundation, IPNLF Foundation Indonesia, Marine Change, and Fair-Trade USA, the Consortium’s work is dedicated to securing healthy, sustainable tuna fisheries and promoting the well-being of fisher communities throughout the country.

On World Tuna Day, Indonesia reaffirms its commitment to preserving tuna stocks and promoting ocean well-being. Through collaborative efforts and innovative strategies, Indonesia sets a standard for sustainable tuna fisheries management, inspiring nations worldwide to follow suit. Thilma Komaling and Robert Tjoanda exemplify this commitment, leading Indonesia towards a brighter, more sustainable future for its tuna industry and marine ecosystems.

Published by: Nelly Chavez


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