• Quality and Fish Handling Training for Small-scale Fishermen in Bone, Sulawesi Selatan

    19 Oct 2017
    Indah Rufiati

    On September 7, MDPI held a fish handling training for small-scale fishermen in Bone. This training was conducted in collaboration with Politeknik Perikanan Bone and Bali Seafood Laboratory. This activity was attended by 28 fishermen and suppliers. Among the guests were Mr. Febian Budianto, Kepala Seksi (Section Chief) of SDI (Sumber Daya Ikan/Fishery Resource) DKP (Dinas Kelautan dan Perikanan) Sulawesi Selatan Province, also the secretary of DMC (Data Management Committee) Sulawesi Selatan Province and Mr. Anwar Yusran, the secretary of DKP Bone Regency.  The training was conducted at the house of Mr. Puang Andi Jahi, one of the suppliers in Bone.

    Recently, fishermen and suppliers in Bone became aware that their fish on occasion suffers from low quality and of course this has the potential to affect their income. For that reason, we conducted a fish handling training for them so that they will have comprehensive knowledge about how to maintain good quality of fish.

    Mr. Febian Budianto expressed his appreciation to MDPI who facilitated this activity in his opening speech. He said that this training is one of the most important trainings for people who work in fishery industry, especially for small-scale fishermen who rely predominantly on their income from the fishing activity for their daily needs. If the fish is well maintained, it will automatically increase the price of the fish and hopefully it will improve fishermen welfare as well.

    Histamine level test conducted by Miss Hana. Photo credit: MDPI

    The following topics were covered by the training:

    1. Fish handling onboard and how to maintain the frozen supply chain, by Mr. Muhammad Masykur, S.STPi., M.ST.Pi. In this session, it is explained about how to handle fish on board in good way, such as how to lift the freshly caught fish and move it into the vessel, how to arrange fish in the vessel hold (palka), etc. Details on all requirements on how to follow international standards on food safety were also shared.
    2. Histamine tests on tuna and skipjack tuna, were conducted by Miss Hana from Bali Seafood Laboratory. Test results identified that tuna and skipjack tuna in Bone during the training were all good for consumption, based on Europe and The US standard: histamine level < 40 ppm (parts per million) and 50 ppm.
    3. Traceability and market requirements, by Teguh, MDPI Supply Chain team. In this session, fishermen were given the understanding that the international consumer requests and international bodies regulate for fish that is non IUU (Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated) and can be traced. Traceability is also important because if there is contaminants in the fish, it can be easily to trace who is the producer, who is the processor, etc.

    Discussions and a lively question and answer session followed. Most of the fishermen were not shy to ask about the topics they didn’t understand yet. To enliven the activity, there were some tumblers and spikes as the spot prize for fishermen who can answer quizzes correctly. Tumblers and spikes are tolls which will help the fishers to further enhance the quality of the fish. Great excitement was experienced during the quiz, such competitive fishermen in Bone! MDPI is glad to conduct this activity and hopefully more fishermen will adhere to the best practice of fish handling they received.

    Writers: Sahril and A. Riza Baroqi

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  • Improving Fisheries Information and Traceability for Tuna (IFITT) Project: Closing Meeting

    4 Oct 2017
    Indah Rufiati

    MDPI, Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR), ThisFish and Institut Pertanian Bogor have been collaborating for >3 years on a  project called Improving Fisheries Information and Traceability for Tuna (IFITT), focusing on an ‘information rich’ traceability system and assessing its potential impact as a mechanism for sustainable data collection for small-scale tuna fisheries in Indonesia, transparency in supply chains and multi-stakeholder engagement. Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR) as the main coordinating and management team; MDPI as the implementation team responsible for coordination and management in Indonesia; and ThisFish as the technical consultants responsible for the database and user interface aspects of the information system. The project started in October 2013 and ended in December 2016.

    There were three pilot sites, two focusing on handline tuna (frozen tuna market) and one on Pole and line/ Purse seine (canned tuna market). The supply chain partners of these pilot projects were: PT. Era Mandiri Cemerlang, Jakarta (handline), PT. Harta Samudra, Ambon (handline) and PT. Sinar Pure Food International, Bitung (pole and line).

    As a closing of IFITT Project, a meeting was held in Bali, July 21. Stakeholders and potential beneficiaries of the programs were invited to get a download and discuss on potential next steps.

    Simon presenting in front of the participants. Photo credit: MDPI

    Presentations were delivered by Simon from Wageningen University and Research Centre (WUR). He presented the key challenges of the project: What opportunities are there for collaborative public-public collection, storage, analysis and communication of tuna information?; What kinds of incentives can ‘information rich’ Consumer Facing Traceability (CFT) create for on-going (sustainable) data collection in these fisheries?; Does the introduction of consumer facing traceability generate information flows that are of a high enough quality, timely, accessible and understandable? All those questions were discussed after his presentation.

    Michele Stark, from Seafood Advisory Ltd, present as a private consultant hired to review the implementation of the project over the 3+ years, continued the session by presenting potential market uptake of the IFITT Project. She concluded, from having conducted market research on the topic, that traceability has limited added value but is a must for the market. Although Consumer Facing Traceability (CFT) system is not interesting for the majority of the market, but it is interesting and a good story (=value) for temporary or niche markets.

    Paul fromWUR continued with a presentation on data generation for spatial risk based management: sampling, use, role of Data Management Committee (DMC), compliance, and spot trace. Mandy, WUR, discussed the work she has been doing as part of her PhD under the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) funded project implementation, the various challenges and opportunities. In her presentation, she mentioned 3 technology deployed in this project: Spot trace (vessel tracking device that generates hourly GPS coordinates); OurFish (mobile phone application records business transactions) and Tally-O (open source internal traceability system that generates digital real time data in the production line). The future implications of the technology deployment was that even though the technology is useful, the complexity of Indonesian supply chains means there is no one size fits all – even within a node.

    The final presentation was delivered by Megan from Dalhousie University, Canada. She discussed about IFITT Project Results on a Seafood Traceability survey and regarding return on investment for traceability. The participants were divided into 2 groups to think about the benefits and costs (and levels of confidence) of traceability investment for fishers, middlemen, local processors, traders and government. After the discussion session, each group presented their findings before the meeting was closed.

    All in all the 3 years of this project have been a rollercoaster of learning, implementation, discussions and more. As a combined group and work approach of researchers, implementers and technical minds it has been a success in more ways than one and the work will continue, firstly to complete the various scientific publications and reports and secondly to develop workplans and projects which will bring the findings to the next level. MDPI would like to thank all the partners, collaborators and participants for their involvement in this great project and though the IFITT Project has finished, the effort to find the best seafood traceability system will be continued by all stakeholders involved.

    Writer: Indah Rufiati

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  • Look at those smiles!!!! Would you believe it’s because of Data?! Cruiseship data dissemination in Lombok.

    4 Oct 2017
    Indah Rufiati

    MDPI’s Indah and Nuri travelled to Lombok Timur on June 8 – 10 to conduct several activities: I-Fish Data Communication Cruiseship, Short Lecture on Fisheries Sustainability and Movie Night. The same events were conducted last year during Ramadhan fasting month as well. During the trip, we were working together with the field team: Juhrin, Hadi, Taeran, Joe, Bambang and Ali.

    The main objective of the I-Fish Data Communication Cruiseship “Diskusi Santai tentang Ikan bersama Nelayan” was to discuss the I-Fish data collected from Labuhan Lombok with small-scale handline tuna fishermen. By conducting this event annually, we hope that it will improve their understanding of the importance of the data collection to support Indonesian government in achieving fisheries sustainability. To hold this event, we made presentations and posters with analysis on production of fishing ground, bycatch species, baitfish use and length frequency of yellowfin tuna.

    27 fishermen and some staff from Fishing Port attended this data dissemination event and some of the fishermen told us that they already attended the same event we held last year. The participants were not always the same fishermen from last year because fishermen in Lombok Timur are “andon” fishermen which means, they come from outside of Lombok Timur, such as from Mandar, Sulawesi Barat or from Sinjai and Bone, Sulawesi Selatan, so they will sail back and forth from Sulawesi Island to Lombok Island. After the data presentation and discussion session, we closed the event with quiz and Ramadhan fasting break (buka puasa bersama).

    MDPI team and the participants of I-Fish Data Communication Cruiseship. Photo credit: MDPI

    In the evening after Ramadhan praying time, we screened a movie about marine ecosystems in the fishing port to attract people around the fishing port, especially fishermen, to watch an educational movie about the importance of ocean ecosystem and that all of us are responsible to take care of it. In total, 20 people joined the movie night program.

    The following day, we travelled from our office in Lombok Timur to Tanjung Luar to visit SMK N 1 Keruak High School. The headmaster, Bapak Mahmuza warmly greeted us and assisted us to go to the meeting hall to start the Short Lecture on Fisheries Sustainability in front of his students. The event was opened by Bapak Mahmuza, followed by Hadi who presented about MDPI programs and updates. Nuri continued by presenting the I-Fish data and explained about the I-Fish data system. As the final presentation, Indah delivered a presentation on introduction of fisheries sustainability. In total, there were 49 students, 5 teachers and Bapak Mahmuza who participated in this event. Students and teachers were very glad that MDPI held this event in their school and they hope that MDPI and SMK N 1 Keruak will have more collaboration in the future, especially for internship program.

    Group picture in SMK N 1 Keruak. Photo credit: MDPI

    We would like to thank all of the participants who joined our events. Their enthusiasm is our fuel to continue improving our work towards fisheries sustainability in Indonesia. Please see our Facebook Page for more pictures 🙂

    Writer: Indah Rufiati


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  • What happens at Sea stays at Sea… or not!!

    12 Sep 2017
    Indah Rufiati

    Time-lapse Camera Deployment as a tool to verify Small-scale handline fishers’ interaction with ETP (Endangered, Threatened and Protected) Species

    Handline is one of fishing gears that is widely used by traditional fishermen in small scale tuna fisheries in Indonesia. It is considered to be a sustainable method of fishing. Fishermen use handlines to catch tuna as fish target, but there is still a risk of accidentally catching Endangered, Threatened, and Protected (ETP) species. Turtles, sharks, whales, dolphins, seabirds and manta rays are ecologically important ETP species that may sometimes be associated with tuna handline fishing. Therefore, there is a need for special monitoring of ETP interactions on handline fishing fleets. One of the MDPI strategies to address this need is by deploying a time-lapse camera on board as a form of electronic monitoring. This is a new approach which aims to overcome the difficulty associated with deploying human observers or expensive electronic monitoring on small scale vessels and its applicability is currently being tested in 5 MDPI sites in Eastern Indonesia.

    Time-lapse cameras, or specifically the Brinno TLC200 time lapse camera, has the ability to capture images up to 1 photo every 1 second. The camera is equipped with a wide lens that can capture most of the ship’s deck area where fisherman catch fish and also the environment around the fishing vessel. The quality of the video recording depends on several things: the height of the wooden pole to which it is attached, the level of brightness during the fishing trip and the camera system settings.

    The trial for time-lapse camera deployment was conducted in August 10 – 22 in Buru Utara and Seram Selatan, Maluku. MDPI team deployed time-lapse cameras in small-scale handline tuna fishing vessels. The time-lapse camera is mounted on a 1.5 meter wooden pole tied to the vessel body. The recording process started from 7 AM when fishermen prepare for fishing trip (loading the fishing trip supplies) until 7 PM when the fishermen landed in the shore and finished the fish unloading work.

    Time-lapse camera on board. Photo credit: MDPI

    During the trial, there were 4 fishing trips using the time-lapse cameras in Waprea and Wailihang Village (Buru Utara) and 2 fishing trips in Tanjung Village (Seram Selatan) where MDPI team joined the fishing trip as well to observe the time-lapse performance.

    Footage preview from time-lapse camera. Photo credit: MDPI

    On August 21, in 10 areas in Maluku and Sulawesi we have deployed the time-lapse onboard simultaneously. The data collected will be analyzed by a student soon to arrive from Wageningen University, Barbara Van der Ven 😊.The data will also be compared to port side monitoring of ETP species which MDPI does at each of its sites. We do hope that the data generated by the time-lapse camera can be used as information and consideration in the management of small-scale handline fisheries in the future. We are thrilled to kick off this new project, stay tuned for more updates from us!

    As a side, the author of this piece, Teguh has just joined our team. He will be working very closely with the Time-lapse cameras. Welcome and happy to have you onboard!!

    Writer: Wahyu Teguh Prawira

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    7 Sep 2017
    Indah Rufiati

    In mid-July 2017, MDPI officially launched the Fair Trade (FT) Program for yellowfin tuna commodity in Pulau Bisa, Obi Utara District, Halmahera Selatan Regency, Maluku Utara Province. The initiative is being implemented with the support from USAID Sustainable Ecosystems Advanced (USAID SEA) Project. MDPI brought its successful experience when it implemented the first pilot project of Fair Trade USA–SEAFOOD in 2014 in which Coral Triangle Processors — a processor and also exporter of yellowfin tuna was the client/certificate holder. In October 2014 the Maluku handline tuna fishery was certified at entry level. The certification process is a six-year system, with continuous improvements and third party audits required on an annual basis. The world’s first Fair Trade certified seafood, in this case yellowfin tuna, is now available in >1000 Safeway and Hy-Vee stores as well as in many well-known restaurants across the U.S, recognizable with the Fair Trade USA logo.

    North Maluku was chosen because of its fish potential by small-scale fishermen (1 GT (Gross Tonnage) – 2 GT) using environmentally friendly handline fishing gear (a single nylon line with a hook). To participate in this program, fishermen are required to form their selves in a Fishers Association (FA). Until now, there are 36 FAs participating in this program throughout Indonesia.

    The challenge of starting the new site for the FT Program in Pulau Bisa is about trust. At first, fishermen were skeptical about the program. Therefore, at an initial stage, MDPI has focused its efforts on building the fishermen trust and understanding on what benefits they could gain if they are committed to participating in the program.   Currently, 4 FAs were formed: FA Tuna Jaya, FA Tanjung Tuna, FA Usaha Bersama and FA Beringin. Through the FT Program, fishermen’s livelihood is expected to improve as well as the living standard of the community. The FT concept is a new face in fish trading where the producers, in this case the fishermen, get a decent price for each kilogram fish they sell as well as Fair Trade premium fund paid by the consumers who buy their Fair Trade products. The calculation of Premium Fund is 0.3 USD from each 1 kilogram fish sold from the dock price. This premium fund will go to the account of the Fair Trade Committee and not into fishers’ personal pockets. It will be utilized for various community projects, including a 30% contribution to environmentally focused projects such as planting trees, sea turtle conservation, etc. The rest of premium fund can be utilized to support the needs of fishermen and social programs such as improving village infrastructure, repairing mosques, purchasing GPS (Global Positioning System) and providing scholarships for school children. The utilization of Fair Trade premium fund for community projects could eventually build the fishers pride and empower them who used to be underestimated. By participating in the fair trade program, the fishers will be able to improve confidence by realizing the fact that they could give a noteworthy contribution to the community.

    On the other hand, consumers get their own satisfaction for buying products with Fair Trade label. They know that behind the label there are stories and hard work done by the fishermen. By buying Fair Trade certified seafood, it also means that they have contributed in the efforts of promoting sustainable fisheries to preserve the ecosystem, for a better world.

    Writer: Arroyan Suwarno

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  • So, how does MDPI ensure data quality and general work quality in the field?

    29 Aug 2017
    Indah Rufiati

    The Fishery Improvement Team (FIT) explains their approach…

    We conducted our second quarterly coordination meeting in Bali from July 10 – 12. This meeting was attended by Regional Supervisors (RS) from the field: Juhrin, Karel, Riza and Bali-based team: Aditya, Momo, Wildan, Nuri, Mika, Timur and Fina.

    The aim of the meeting was to evaluate the FIT work from January until June 2017. Programs, issues found, data validation, work plan and interpersonal coordination and how to overcome the general problems we experience from day to day.

    General issue that was found from each region are: there is incomplete data, for example there is only data about fish weight without fish length; sampling was not conducted based on the sampling method, misidentification of the bycatch species, incorrect bycatch fish codes and late data submission.

    Aditya as the executive director of MDPI and Momo as the Director of Programs and Research gave encouragement and reminded us to look back at the job description, make (and keep!!! 😊) deadlines for reports and program so that the programs will be well executed.

    In the final meeting session, we discussed about the log book. MDPI is working with the USAID SEA project and the Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries (MMAF) to help in reviewing fish catch log books in the small scale sector. By identifying issues with current implementation we hope to make recommendations for improvements to be done which will make it easier for fishermen to fill in the data. The general consensus is that the current log book format is quite complicated and difficult for fishermen to complete, especially the small scale fishermen. This review is ongoing and results will be worked on in the coming months.

    The coordination meetings are important for us because MDPI has several sites in Eastern Indonesia from Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara Barat, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Maluku, Maluku Utara and Papua. Better coordination is highly needed to make sure that each program is running well in each site. In MDPI, we are committed to collect the small-scale fishery data with the best quality in order to support government in using data as the basis for decision making and good management.

    We may not have perfect data from every site but our opinion is that by constantly reviewing our processes that we will continue to improve… Indonesian fisheries data is improving year on year and we hope MDPI is in somehow capable to contribute to this!

    Forward we go team FI!!!! 😊 😊

    Writer: A. Riza Baroqi

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  • Story from the field: I-Fish Data Communication Cruiseship, Movie Night and Short Lecture in Maluku

    22 Aug 2017
    Indah Rufiati

    MDPI Communication and Development team (Nuri, Indah and Deirdre) visited Maluku sites from May 2 – 8 to conduct several activities. Here is the story shared by Nuri…

    Buru Island

    We arrived in Namlea Port, Buru Island after 3 hours trip using the newly launched fast boat from Slamet Riyadi Port, Ambon. For your information, the ticket price is IDR 210,000 (economy), IDR 260,000 (VIP) and IDR 310,000 (VVIP). The schedule of the fast boat: on odd dates the vessel travelsfrom Ambon to Buru and on even dates from Buru to Ambon, and will depart at 9 AM. We were lucky with this new transportation mode because it saved more time and energy for us 🙂

    In Buru Island, we met the field team (Huda, Djamal, Untung, Ijha, Asis, Ari) who support MDPI in conductingour field activities in Buru. The first event was a Short Lecture on Fisheries Sustainability in the Marine and Fisheries Faculty of Universitas Iqra’ Buru (UNIQBU), attended by 20 participants consisting of students and lecturers. There was a little issue about the electricity at the beginning, which is a familiar issue in remote islands, but the university managed to fix the generator problem so that the event ran well. Nuri and Huda presented MDPI Updates and I-Fish data to the participants, followed by a two way discussion. The meeting ended with some specially developed “sustainability games”, developed in such a way as to make stakeholders aware of various sustainability issues and approaches. The participants were so surprised (and delighted!) to be introduced to a game of simulation on how to catch fish sustainably. We can’t thank you enough for UNIQBU warm welcome and hospitality to us to conduct this event. The Dean of Marine and Fisheries Department, Ibu Maryati, appreciated the MDPI team’s effort and she wants us to come again next year. For your information, UNIQBU is the only university in Buru Island and we are so proud to know them.

    A student asking question during the discussion in UNIQBU Buru. Photo credit: MDPI

    We continued the trip from Namlea to MDPI office at Waprea Village. The trip took 2 hours road trip, surrounded by beautiful view of forest and sea. The next agenda was a movie night where we screened a movie about ocean ecosystem which was attended by 80 people.

    The morning after, we conducted the I-Fish Data Communication Cruiseship “Diskusi Santai Tentang Ikan” with the fishermen to discuss about the data that MDPI has collected in 2016. This event is aimed to increase the fishermens understanding about the data and its importance. We hope that by sharing the data and explaining its format that fishermen can learn and  understand that the information on fishing trips they shared with us is a core component of fisheries management and that this data can be used to inform and shape fisheries management interventions in the future. For this event, we create simple presentations containing graphs consisting of total catch, highest bycatch, bait used and tuna length frequency, etc. The first discussion with fishermen was conducted at Waprea Village. 11 fishermen came and discussed the data with us. They asked many questions about data presented, tuna biology and also Fair Trade program, with which they have been involved. In this session, fishermen gave confirmation/experience about the reality during their fishing trip in 2016. We played the ‘Sweet Sustainability’ game to finish the discussion.

    I-Fish Data Communication Cruiseship in Waprea Village. Photo credit: MDPI

    In the night time, we screened another movie night in Wamlana village and it was only attended by 15 people because of heavy rain.

    The next day, we conducted discussion with fishermen at Wailihang Village. Due to high fishing season, there were only 8 fishermen came to the discussion. However, it was a lively discussion and they were excited to share about why, during windy season, they use flying fish instead of chopped squids as bait. It is because chopped squids will be scattered easily once it entered the water so it will be hard to trick the fish to eat the squid bait… so we also get to learn something new, which is great! 😊

    Seram Island

    Next port of call, Masohi, Seram Island, to meet our Seram field team, Magfir and Manda.

    The fishermen in Tehoru Village requested to us to do the discussion in the afternoon because they go fishing in the morning. Prior to the discussion, there was a heavy rain but still th 14 fishermen came to discuss the I-Fish data with us. Fishermen were active and they gave us input about the local name of bycatch fish from the graphs we had made. After the discussion, we screened the movie while they enjoyed dinner together with us.

    Happy faces from I-Fish Data Communication Cruiseship in Seram. Photo credit: MDPI

    Ambon City

    Last stop UNPATTI (Universitas Pattimura) Ambon to conduct another Short Lecture. 70 participants (students and lecturer) already waited for us in the meeting room and we were so happy to know how excited they were to attend this activity. Karel, Nuri and Indah presented about MDPI Updates, I-Fish data and Fair Trade respectively. Participants asked so many questions for us: about the data collection, Fair Trade, what is MDPI role in campaigning sustainable seafood in Indonesia, etc… We were so impressed with their enthusiasm. Even the lecturer wanted us to have future collaboration in data collection since UNPATTI has been conducting tuna data collection in Banda Sea as well. Although the trip schedule was so tight, we were glad that this final agenda ran smoothly. We are so proud to have a lively activity with students of UNPATTI and hopefully we will be able to conduct another activity with them again.

    Picture group from Short Lecture in UNPATTI. Photo credit: MDPI

    We went back to Bali office with smile on our faces. Thank you, Maluku! 🙂

    Writer: Nuriasih Nababan




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  • The 5th Data Management Committee (DMC) in Kupang, Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT)

    28 Jul 2017
    Indah Rufiati

    MDPI facilitated the regular DMC meeting for NTT Province on April 26 in T-More Hotel, Kupang. It was attended by the representatives of Universitas Kristen Artha Wacana, Universitas Muhammadiyah Kupang, Pengawas Perikanan, Dinas Kelautan dan Perikanan (DKP) NTT Province, Balai Konservasi Perairan Nasional Kupang, NGO, industry and handline tuna fishermen.

    In this meeting, the DMC members discussed several fundamental points as follow:

    1. Work plan updates from the last 6 months
    2. Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) management in NTT Province waters
    3. Permit management specified for small-scale fishermen
    4. Live bait management for Pole&Line fishery
    5. Renewal of Surat Keputusan (DMC Decree) for period 2017 – 2019 to add Polisi Air dan Udara (POLAIRUD/air and waters police), Tentara Nasional Indonesia Angkatan Laut (TNI AL/marine army), and consortium universities with fisheries study.
    6. Development of new action points for the coming 6 months

    In this meeting, a lecturer from Fisheries Faculty of Universitas Muhammadiyah Kupang, presented research results on tuna from year 2010 – 2015 from Pangkalan Pendaratan Ikan (PPI/landing site) Oeba, Kupang. She informed us that even though PPI Oeba is one of the biggest fishing ports in Kupang, most of the fishermen who land fish there are small-scale fishermen because the entry to the port only allows small vessels due to shallowness of the area.

    The issue about Surat Laik Operasi (SLO/operation permit) and Surat Persetujuan Berlayar (SPB/fishing permit) were also discussed by DKP NTT Province and Pengawasan Sumber Daya Kelautan dan Perikanan  (PSDKP/marine and fisheries resources monitoring). PSDKP also emphasized that there will be inspection related to vessel documents. If the vessels documents are not aligned with the real condition of the vessel, government will discipline them.

    As a wrap up, DKP NTT Province committed to allocate one dedicated room for DMC secretariat for better coordination in the future. Stay tune on our website to get updates about the next DMC meeting that will be held in October 2017.

    Writer: Juhrin

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  • A Think Tank and a Shark Tank

    27 Jul 2017
    Indah Rufiati

    MDPI and our partners are proud to share the outcomes of our recent Think Tank on Small Scale Fisheries.

    Why are small fisheries a big deal?

    There has been a lot of focus around the world recently on tackling Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing – not least in Indonesia, where Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Susi Pudjiastuti has made this her mission – going as far as blowing up boats caught fishing illegally. In our work across Indonesia, MDPI grapples with the challenges that small scale fishers face to comply with regulations, report their activities and catches, and demonstrate they are fishing legally.

    Seeing the common challenges faced by fishers across the Indonesian archipelago, and hearing of similar issues faced in other continents and oceans, MDPI saw a need for solutions that could help artisanal fishers transition to fishing in ways that are legal, reported and regulated (LRR). This assurance is not only vital for sustainable fisheries, but is becoming a necessity for fishing operations of any size to get access to international markets, particularly for high-end products.

    Small catches are collected on the beach north of the capital Columbo in Sri Lanka. Photo credit: Paul Hilton / Earth Tree

    Finding solutions to these challenges is vital for developing – and developed – countries around the world. Nine out of every ten fish workers globally are in artisanal fisheries. The industrial and small scale fishing sectors each take roughly half of the global fish catch, but small scale fisheries contribute much more to employment and to food security in developing nations. In Indonesia the importance of artisanal fishing is even greater – 95% of the country’s fish catch is taken by small scale fishers.

    Most fishery regulations are written with the industrial sector in mind, leaving much of the artisanal fleet under the radar. Sometimes they are simply overlooked in the design of regulations, in other cases they are given well-meaning exemptions. But as Megan Bailey of Dalhousie University noted, “even if it’s done with the best of intentions, it is a disservice to leave artisanal fishers out of fishery regulations, when markets demand that seafood is caught legally and responsibly.”

    Getting together the experts

    To generate ideas and solutions, we partnered with Wageningen University & Research, the Asia Pacific based USAID Oceans and the Walton Family Foundation to host a Think Tank on “Moving Towards Legal, Reported and Regulated Status for Small Scale Fisheries” from July 18 – 20 2017 in Bali.

    The event brought together NGOs, scientists, finance experts and government officials to investigate ways that small scale fishers can be helped to fish legally and responsibly, and have the means to prove it. The Walton Family Foundation offered seed funding to be awarded to the best emerging idea in support of small scale fishers.

    The Think Tank kicked off with case studies from different parts of the world, from Madagascar, Indonesia, Alaska, South Africa and the Maldives. Presenters described the challenges those fisheries face, and groups discussed the efforts and interventions that had been made within each the fisheries and their levels of success. The group then discussed the many commonalities between those fisheries and their challenges. Remoteness plays a part in compliance whether you’re fishing in Java or Alaska, consulting with fishers when regulations are set up is as crucial in South Africa as the Maldives, and fishery management that leaves out the artisanal sector further marginalizes coastal communities whether they’re in Indonesia or Madagascar.

    Day two started early with a visit to local fishers along Jimbaran Beach, a stone’s throw from Bali’s busy international airport and a thriving tourist area with many high-end resorts and restaurants. Despite this, the fishers we met with would struggle to access the export and high-value markets on their doorstep. Most would have been classed, by default, as “IUU”. Their small boats are designed to be launched from the beach, but the nearby port was the only designated site at which they could officially land their catch. Without using that port, they lacked the exit and entry permits to match with the fish catch that they reported.

    Fishing boats in Jimbaran, Bali. Photo credit: Paul Hilton / Earth Tree

    For the next day and a half, smaller groups delved into five aspects of sustainable fisheries: Governance, Data, Social, Markets and Finance. Each group was asked to investigate that fishery component, consider the ideas and solutions that existed already, look at what had made them succeed or fail, and identify priority issues still to address. Groups then developed solutions, working also with experts from other groups to challenge and refine each other’s ideas and incorporate cross-cutting themes.

    What came through this process was a smorgasbord of more than a dozen solutions, ranging from social media platforms and financial planning software to simple on-the-boat steps to prevent deterioration in fish quality from the moment it comes out of the water. Ideas also emerged for toolkits to better communicate with artisanal fishing groups and to promote the concept of ‘maximum economic benefit’ as a replacement to the outdated measure of ‘maximum sustainable yield’ in fisheries.

    Interestingly, many of the solutions were indirect, focusing on securing better earnings for the fishers to lift them out of poverty and give them the breathing space to fish in more sustainable and responsible ways. As Garth Cripps of Blue Ventures explained “it’s very hard to put back an undersized octopus or respect the boundary of a protected area when you’re living from day to day on what you can catch.”

    At the end of the Think Tank, participants were joined by a panel of five judges. In a ‘Shark Tank’ format (think reality TV! A Dragons’ Den for the oceans) each group presented their best proposal to support small scale fishers, faced questions from the panel of judges and other participants, and as the sun set the judges deliberated.

    Ice, ice baby

    Seed funding was allocated to a project that will identify where quality losses occur across six artisanal fisheries, with the aim of generating better income from existing catches. The peak value of a fish is at the moment it is caught, but without good handling from that moment to when it is sold, it loses quality – and critically, may fall below the lucrative ‘export quality’ level.

    A yellowfin tuna caught by hand line off the Sangihe Islands in Indonesia. Photo credit: Paul Hilton / WCS

    Rene Benguerel, speaking on MELIOMAR, a tuna company operated by Blueyou in Switzerland estimates that 70% of tuna landed in its sourcing country the Philippines could meet export quality standards – but at the moment the company only buys 3% of landings, those which met the export standards of European markets. Exported tuna is worth ~three times more than tuna fetches on the local market, so even simple steps to keep the fish in top condition – ice, careful handling and protection from the sun – can considerably boost fishers’ earnings. This in turn allows them to break cycles of debt, and gives the means and incentive to fish legally, follow regulations and report their catches.

    Everybody wins if we find and fund solutions that allow small fishing communities to prove that they’re fishing legally and sustainably. The fishers themselves through better income, healthier reefs and fish stocks and access to export markets, fisheries managers through more data on what’s being caught, and consumers gaining access to seafood that is caught in some of the most ocean-friendly and people-friendly ways. By improving value of catches there may be a time where fishers could halve their catches and still double their incomes…. a win/win situation!

    And now, what’s next?

    A more comprehensive report outlining the results, giving some background on the amazing ‘thinkers’ we managed to gather in Bali and some next steps will be circulated in the near future. Watch this space and please do not hesitate to reach out if you would like more information or insight on the topic or the event and its outcomes.

    The event has made us realize again how utterly important artisanal fisheries are, and how many passionate and motivated people are out there who want to make a difference for our small-scale fishers globally. This is an issue larger than any of us individually and so collaboration and coordination is needed. MDPI would like to again thank everyone who contributed to this event and we hope we can in a small way support this movement in the coming years. A special thanks goes to our partners on this event, the Walton Family Foundation, Wageningen University and Research and the Asia Pacific based USAID Oceans.

    With thanks,

    Momo Kochen, Director Programs and Research and all the team at MDPI


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  • The 10th Data Management Committee (DMC) Meeting in Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB)

    27 Jul 2017
    Indah Rufiati

    MDPI facilitated  the most recent DMC meeting in Nusa Tengarra Barat (NTB) on May 31 in Dinas Kelautan dan Perikanan (DKP) office in Mataram, NTB. The meeting was attended by 20 people from local and central government, university, industry and NGO. It was opened by Mr. Lalu Hamdi, the head of DKP NTB Province, followed by Mr. Nurjamil, the head of  the DMC.

    As always in NTB the meeting hosted a lively discussion on many important and timely relevant topics- I-Fish data, vessel measurement application to Department of Transportation, renewing the committee decree with governor of NTB and a follow up results from action plan made in Bogor (March, 2017) some stakeholders about Fish Aggregating Device (FAD) and vessel registration. We also discussed an activity plan to progress forward these various conversations for the coming 6 months. The meeting was ended at 6 PM and then continued by break the Ramadhan fast together.

    Some results from this DMC meeting:

    1. DMC will continue to follow up about FAD registration issues from the tuna fishers Labuhan Lombok to national government
    2. This committee is prepared to be part of WPP (Wilayah Pengelolaan Perikanan/Fishery Management Area) organization, and later will have cooperation with other provinces under WPPs.
    3. MDPI will facilitate to follow-up the decree renewal for DMC for period 2017-2019 and to add more important members in DMC: Biro Hukum Provinsi, BAPPEDA Provinsi and Dinas Perhubungan Laut.
    4. Head of DKP NTB Province is ready to allocate a space for DMC Secretariat in DKP office, Mataram
    5. NTB deadline for vessel registration is in December 2017. If there are any unregistered vessels, it will be processed based on the law.

    We are very glad to facilitate this meeting and hopefully the DMC will become more powerful event for stakeholders to generate useful action plans for fisheries sustainability in NTB.

    Writer: Wildan

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