• The Fair Trade Program for Yellowfin Tuna Starts its New Chapter in Mandioli Island, North Maluku

    3 May 2018
    Indah Rufiati

    In April, with the support from USAID Sustainable Ecosystems Advanced (USAID SEA) Project, MDPI officially launched the Fair Trade program for yellowfin tuna in Mandioli Island, South Halmahera Regency, Maluku Utara Province. To start the program, two Fair Trade Fisher Associations were formed in in Lele Village involving 25 fishers, followed by 13 fishers from Bahu Village.

    MDPI is an experienced Fair Trade implementer that has successfully implemented the world’s first Fair Trade USA seafood certification in Maluku in 2014 in collaboration with Coral Triangle Processors — a processor and also exporter of yellowfin tuna, the client/certificate holder.

    Fair Trade certification is a six-year process, with continuous improvements and third party audits required on an annual basis. The world’s first Fair Trade certified seafood, Maluku yellowfin tuna, is now available in >1000 Safeway and Hy-Vee stores as well as in a number of well-known restaurants across the U.S, recognizable with the Fair Trade USA logo.

    Fair Trade empowers people to make choices for the good of themselves and their community. By choosing Fair Trade certified seafood, consumers realize that they make a conscious and ethical purchase by supporting small-scale fishermen through the incentive called Fair Trade Premium Fund, a proportion of the sales returned to the community. The Fair Trade Premium Fund is given to the Fishers Association and can be used for community development projects, such as building public restroom, improving mosque facility, and road infrastructure. 30% of Fair Trade Premium Fund must be allocated for environmental projects such as trash bin development or sea turtle nursery project.

    The new Fair Trade Fishers Association in Lele Village, North Maluku. Photo credit: Indah Rufiati/MDPI

    Writer: Indah Rufiati

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  • Enhancing Industry Data

    21 Feb 2018
    Indah Rufiati

    Following the Data Management Committee (DMC) meeting in Manado, a meeting focused on enhancing industry data was held on December 8, 2017.

    Ibu Riana from Direktorat Pengelolaan Sumber Daya Ikan (PSDI) opened the meeting with a presentation on ‘Logbook and Observer Data Collection in Support of Sustainable Fisheries.’ She emphasized that collaborative management requires that all stakeholders collect fisheries information in order to create better fisheries management. She discussed the legal basis for using logbooks and the issues associated with logbooks including compliance, incomplete data, difficulty filling them out, and more. There are plans to redesign the logbook system, especially with regards to the e-logbook system. Finally, Ibu Riana presented on the observer program, with updates on national numbers.

    An active discussion about logbooks followed her presentation, including those companies that are able to comply and others that find it difficult to implement logbooks, especially with small-scale vessels in remote areas. A recommendation to have Dinas Kelautan dan Perikanan (DKP) review logbook implementation with fishermen was suggested.

    Allison from MDPI presented about eco-certifications, specifically the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). She outlined the three main principles behind the MSC certification, along with the 28 indicators of fishery performance. Until now, no capture fisheries in Indonesia have the MSC certificate, but lots of work is being done to achieve it. Reaching MSC is one way to help ensure that fisheries are sustainable. Heri from Asosiasi Perikanan Pole & Line dan Handline Indonesia (AP2HI) gave a follow-up presentation that went into greater detail about the preparation for MSC certification, highlighting the need for members to comply to effective management measures.

    Finally, MDPI’s Stephani Mangunsong presented about the new Seafood Import Monitoring Program (SIMP) in the United states and how this might affect Indonesia’s exports to the US. Monitoring tuna imports is one of the priorities of SIMP, though the regulation applies to all seafood species entering the US. All fish entering the US as of January 1, 2018 must participate in the program, submitting data about fishing activities, vessel identification, fishing gear, fish species, landing data and catch area.

    There was a positive and enthusiastic response from the suppliers that attended the meeting, with one emphasizing that fishermen and suppliers need to participate in data collection. The supplier said that the important thing is to be proactive, and if there is a need for data, it will be given.

    Writer: Allison Stocks


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  • Indonesian Data Collaboration Takes Another Step Forward

    21 Feb 2018
    Indah Rufiati

    In January 2018, NGOs and industry members gathered together in Bali to continue working towards a more cohesive approach to sharing fisheries data with the Indonesian government. Twenty-two people from thirteen different organizations participated in the meeting.

    This collaboration was initiated in August 2017, and there has been significant progress in advancing the goal of a coordinated approach to fisheries data collection and sharing. Momo from MDPI updated the group on the work that had been done so far, along with the goals of the initiative. Pak Lutfi from MDPI updated the participants on the progress and developments in the online data portal system. Feedback was given on the system and the overall initiative, and participants committed to concrete steps to move the initiative forward.

    Three working groups were formed: Government Coordination, Technical Development, and Administration. These working groups will help advance specific aspects of the NGO alignment group, like introducing the concept to some government departments and gathering input on the system.

    The working groups will continue to work towards their goals and the next meeting of the group will be in six months or so. It is a very exciting initiative and we are looking forward to the impacts it might have for Indonesian fisheries management in the future. Sustainable fisheries are the ultimate goal!

    Writer: Allison Stocks

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  • World Fisheries Day in Pulau Bisa

    21 Feb 2018
    Indah Rufiati

    MDPI field team in Pulau Bisa, North Maluku Province, celebrated World Fisheries Day on November 21st, 2017 by conducting several events: coloring competition, rowing boat competition and beach clean-up.

    Coloring competition

    The competition was conducted in the elementary school Sekolah Dasar Negeri (SDN) 41 South Halmahera and was attended by 47 students. Prior to the coloring session, MDPI staff presented videos and information about Endangered Threatened and Protected (ETP) species such as sea turtles, whales and dolphins with additional information on tuna, mangrove forests and coral reefs shared. The students were enthusiastic and some of them also shared their experience of seeing sea animals. The completed drawings were rated by the teachers, headmaster and MDPI staff, with the top five drawings receiving a prize provided by MDPI.

    Rowing boat competition and beach clean-up

    MDPI invited the village government, high school students, medical team of the community health center (Pusat Kesehatan Masyarakat/PUSKESMAS) and people in the fishing community to join the rowing boat competition. There were 33 participants in this competition that were divided into six groups. Each group was equipped with a life jacket for safety. To close the rowing boat competition, all participants, MDPI and people in the fishing community helped in a beach clean-up and collected a total of 376.4 kg garbage.

    MDPI would like to thank all people who are supported our activities in Pulau Bisa. Hopefully the community will continue the effort to keep the beach clean.

    Writer: Amrollah


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  • The 2nd Data Management Committee (DMC) Meeting of North Sulawesi Province

    22 Jan 2018
    Indah Rufiati

    The regular Data Management Committee (DMC) meeting was convened in December 7, 2017 in Hotel Sintesa Peninsula, Manado. This meeting was attended by the members of DMC: representatives of provincial government, national government, industry, fishermen, NGOs and university.

    In the first session, Ibu Inneke Adam (DMC secretary) presented the DMC accomplishments from the past six months. The accomplishments include: DMC Decree (Surat Keputusan) already issued by the governor and the establishment of the DMC secretariat in Tumumpa Fishing Port in Manado as the DMC coordination place.

    Pak Ronald Sorongan (head of Dinas Kelautan dan Perikanan (DKP) North Sulawesi Province) gave the overview on how the meeting will be conducted. He hoped that the data collection activity, the collaboration among stakeholders and regular meetings on the issues found in the field will result in a recommendation for local policy Peraturan Daerah (PERDA) or Peraturan Gubernur (PERGUB).

    In the next session Riza (MDPI staff in Sulawesi Utara Province) delivered a presentation on the data collection activity in North Sulawesi. He informed about the big picture of MDPI activities in North Sulawesi Province and the result of data collection from January to November 2017. Participants were that MDPI recently expanded the sites to Manado and Tahuna with the support of USAID OCEANS for data collection and vessel registration.

    Pak Johny Budiman (Universitas Sam Ratulangi (UNSRAT)) presented about the data that had been collected from September to December 2017. Data was collected on fish length, fishing effort and catch share in the fishing effort.

    The following issues were discussed during the meeting:

    • How to expand the data collection activity in more areas so it can represent the population
    • Fishermen issues on the complicated process of obtaining a vessel permit
    • What substitute can be used for stones, which fishermen attach to the bait for tuna fishing. There is a worry that if the use of stones is continued, it may have a negative effect on the environment

    Ibu Riana (Direktorat Pengelolaan Sumber Daya Ikan (PSDI) Kementerian Perikanan dan Kelautan (KKP)) shared the latest information on tuna catch allowances. She informed the participants that Indonesia is allowed to increase the quota of purse seine and longline in Pacific Ocean in order to optimize the use of the available natural resources.

    To wrap up, Pak Saut (MDPI) gave some guidance and ideas on the future of the DMC, in terms of funding and the targets to be accomplished. Hopefully the DMC will become a regular event for all fisheries stakeholders in North Sulawesi.


    Writer. A. Riza Baroqi

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  • Data Validation Meeting in Manado

    17 Jan 2018
    Indah Rufiati

    The Fisheries Improvement Team conducted a data validation meeting in Manado, from 9 – 12 December, to ensure high quality data is entered in to the I-Fish database. This activity is conducted every six months and this time the meeting was attended by Pak Saut, Wildan, Allison, Timur, Juhrin, Karel, Riza and Huda.

    The activity began with a short presentation from each participant to update on the current situation and the achievements in the last six months in each region. This was followed by a session of data validation. Participants were divided into three groups to check the data one-by-one from June-November. From this check, a summary was produced for each location, detailing the port sampling coverage percentage, and information on baitfish, bycatch, main target fish and ETP (Endangered, Threatened or Protected) species. Based on the data checking and summaries, the port sampling activities are sampling more than 20% of the total fishing effort in each location, which is in accordance with the port sampling protocol.

    This data validation meeting included information sharing sessions by Pak Saut and Allison, updating the participants knowledge about fisheries management, harvest strategy and the basics of stock assessment. In conducting this activity, the Fishery Improvement Team will keep updated on fisheries management concepts and have a good understanding of the data requirements for fish stock assessments. It was a successful meeting, with participants getting more detailed information on activities across MDPI sites and within the bigger picture of MDPI, and the recommendations from the data validation will be included in the data collection and I-Fish process.

    Writer: Wildan

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  • Fish Handling Training: Empowering Fishers for Better Fish Quality

    4 Jan 2018
    Indah Rufiati

    Fish quality issues, especially at certain times of year, is prevalent across Indonesia. Poorly handled fish and high levels of histamine become the main cause of the fish quality decline. This condition has affected the fishers’ income because buyers refuse to accept lower quality fish or if they accept it, they will buy it atvery low price. In an effort to improve fish handling skills amongst small-scale handline fishers in Parigi village, North Seram, Maluku, on October 13th, MDPI under the USAID Sustainable Ecosystems Advanced (USAID SEA) Project, conducted a training of on-board fish handling attended by 44 fishers.

    Staff from PT. Harta Samudera Ambon, Cindy J. Hiso and Wilson Taihuttu explained the importance of maintaining the cleanliness and the frozen chain/cold chain in the fish handling process to maintain the fish quality. The main causes of food safety hazard, they further explained, are raw material contaminants; raw material bad handling; sanitation, hygiene, health and personal skill; equipment suitability, and processing method. Poor fish handling will have high potential for Salmonella and high histamine levels.

    A session on histamine testing was presented by Hanna from Bali Seafood International Laboratory (BASIL). Information about histamine and its causes is important for fishers to better understand that high levels of histamine in fish can cause bad impact to health, from skin itching to food poisoning. Five fish catch from the Parigi fishers were used as samples for histamine testing during the training. Through a quantitative trial, the histamine level identified on site was between 5.8 to 11.9 ppm (parts per million), which means that the fish tested was safe for consumption. This indicates that that potentially the fish is safe when it reaches land. However histamine issues may be occurring as fish comes into the supply chain to last processing and export.

    Through this training, it I expected that fishers will understand and hone skills on good fish handling practices; that all handling areas are well maintained and clean at all times (on-board and in supplier); and that the  maintenance of the cold chain is highly important.

    “I am relieved to hear that our fish was proven safe for consumption through the histamine testing. When fish was observed during the training, the quality was excellent with grade A or AA. Potentially, fish quality issues occur only at the supplier level. In other words, the fishers have already been well-informed and have done their parts to maintain high quality fish,” says Alwiya Kaledupa, a member of Fair Trade Fishers Association

    Furthermore, he hopes that an adequate and reliable source of ice can be maintained in Parigi to support the quality and handling approaches.

    Writer: Wahyu Teguh Prawira

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  • Safety at Sea Training for Fair Trade Fishermen in Pulau Bisa

    2 Jan 2018
    Indah Rufiati

    Fair Trade USA is different from other seafood certifications. It is not only focused on the sustainability of the resource but also supports improvements socially in the community and the supply chain. The Fair Trade USA standard considers the stakeholder relationships; the effects of fishing activity on the environment; the method of fishing; the recording of fish catches; product traceability; the factory and its workers, social standards, safety in the workplace and more.

    On October 1, MDPI under the USAID Indonesian Sustainable Ecosystems Advanced (SEA) Project (USAID SEA Project) conducted Safety at Sea (SAS) & First Aid Training for Fair Trade fishermen in Pulau Bisa, Halmahera Selatan Regency, North Maluku Province. The training was held to comply with one of the Fair Trade certification compliance criteria related to ‘Occupational Health & Safety Standard’ section of the Capture Fisheries Standard. Seventy Fair Trade fishermen from 4 Fishers Association (FA) attended the training that was conducted in collaboration with the National Search and Rescue team (BASARNAS) Ternate.

    The Head of Madapolo Tengah Village, Pak Hamka appreciated this activity. He emphasized the importance of safety at sea. He encouraged all fishermen to have a phone and keep it dry because now there is signal in the village so that they can keep the communication if there is a bad situation while at sea. He asked the fishermen to pay attention and to learn seriously about the safety at sea that will be presented by BASARNAS. He also told fishermen to fish “in adequate amount/not too much/enough for life”. He mentioned the importance of ETP (Endangered, Threatened & Protected) species to the ecosystem as well. He also said that fishermen must know that there are animals that are prohibited to be caught. If ETP species were human, they would say “Please don’t catch me…”

    The next session was the main trainings, delivered by BASARNAS Ternate team, Pak Fahari and his team: Pak Husen and Pak Rudin. They informed us that BASARNAS Ternate was established since 2012. In the near future, they have a plan to open another post in Bacan as well.

    Pak Rudin presented materials about First Aid, self-protection tool, emergency transfer technic and how to do Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). Next, Pak Husen presented about the sea survival technique, which means how to defend ourselves at the sea when there was no one else.  First, what must have is the spirit to stay alive, self-readiness and the availability of the supporting tools. He stated that life vest is one of the important tools for sea survival, that’s why fishermen are encouraged to always bring it when fishing. The third topic was sea navigation by Pak Fahri that taught about mapping skill and navigation to make sure they can go home safely.

    After SAS Training, it was a time to distribute certificates, life vest, first-aid boxes and Search & Rescue books to the participants. Pak Hairun as the head of Fair Trade Committee (FTC) of Pulau Bisa expressed his gratitude that the fishermen got a chance to be one of the USAID SEA Project sites with MDPI assistance. He asked the fellow fishermen to keep the environment for future generation so that their grandchildren will still be able to enjoy seafood. Pak Asril as a representative from USAID SEA emphasized about the importance of not littering while at sea because it will be dangerous for the environment and also for fishermen themselves, for example the plastic that was thrown into the sea can get stuck in the vessel propeller and cause an accident. The representative of the Obi Utara District, Pak Hamid, continued to deliver a greeting and he said that this was the first SAS training conducted in this village and he hope that the similar training will be conducted in other villages too.

    Pak Asril as the representative of USAID SEA Project. Photo credit: MDPI

    The next agenda was additional trainings for fishermen: Data Collection Introduction from Amrollah and Rahman (MDPI); ETP Species Awareness from Rahman (MDPI); Fish Handling Training from Ibu Mega (PT. Blue Ocean Grace Indonesia) and waste management from Djamal (MDPI).

    At the end of the training, we are happy to report it was a really interactive training and participatory. Both the trainers and the participants had a lively discussion and question and answer sessions. MDPI and USAID SEA Project are glad to be able to conduct this fundamental SAS training for small-scale fishermen in North Maluku province.

    Writer: Indah Rufiati


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  • Harvest Strategy: 4th Technical Workshop and 7th Stakeholder Workshop October 30 – November 2, 2017

    2 Jan 2018
    Indah Rufiati

    Last month during four days of meetings in Bogor, Indonesia made progress towards developing a harvest strategy for its tuna fisheries.

    Before we dive into what happened in the meetings, let’s review what a harvest strategy is. In brief, “Harvest strategies are pre-agreed upon frameworks for making fisheries management decisions, such as setting quotas,” (Pew Trust). According to the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, “A harvest strategy is a framework that specifies pre-determined management actions for a defined species necessary to achieve the agreed ecological, economic and/or social objectives.” The aim of a harvest strategy (like most fisheries management tools) is to maintain commercial fish stocks at environmentally sustainable levels and to maximise the economic returns.

    Harvest strategies generally involve a monitoring program, a stock assessment method, reference points (or other fishery indicators), and harvest control rules. There can be many different harvest strategies based on these data, analyses, and chosen management options. To compare these potential harvest strategies, simulations are run to compare the likely performance of each strategy. This helps guide the process of harvest strategy development.

    To learn more, visit: or


    Moving Toward a Harvest Strategy

    The technical meeting brought together scientists from the government, Australia, WCPFC (The Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission), and a few NGOs to discuss progress and potential harvest strategies. It has taken a long time to even reach this point, because Indonesia’s fisheries are data-poor, and it is difficult to develop potential harvest strategies when data is limited. However, time series data collected by WPEA (West Pacific East Asia Project), SDI (Sumber Daya Ikan), CSIRO and MDPI, have helped produce adequate data to feed into Indonesia’s Harvest Strategy Management Startegy Evaluation process. This potential harvest strategy is still in development and has been a combined effort by the Indonesian government with help from Australian scientists at CSIRO (The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation), WCPFC, MDPI and others. As the process, which is ongoing since 2014, has now completed its development phase and aims to move into implementation phase in 2018 and beyond, we were delighted to hear that CSIRO will kick off a 4 year project focused on Harvest Strategy and Management Strategy Evaluation process for Indonesia.

    At the stakeholder meeting, the scientists’ findings were presented along with a draft framework for an interim harvest strategy. This interim measure will encourage data collection to continue, which will allow for the refinement of potential harvest strategies and the development of Harvest Control Rules.

    Overall the meeting was a positive and informative experience. The government emphasized the importance of collaboration moving forward in order to develop effective harvest strategy. MDPI will continue to support these efforts with our data and participation, as we continue to work toward happy people and many fish!

    Writer: Allison Stocks

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  • The 6th Data Management Committee (DMC) of Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) Province

    2 Jan 2018
    Indah Rufiati

    The 6th Data Management Committee (DMC) was held on Thursday, November 16 at Hotel Neo El Tari, Kupang. The participants were representatives from Pengelolaan Sumber Daya Ikan Direktorat Jendral Perikanan Tangkap Kementerian Kelautan dan Perikanan (PSDI DJPT KKP), Dinas Kelautan dan Perikanan (DKP) Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) Province, DKP Belu Regency, DKP Alor Regency, Pelabuhan Perikanan Pantai (PPP) Tenau, Pangkalan Pendaratan Ikan (PPI) Oeba, Head of (Pengawas Sumber Daya Keluatan dan Perikanan) PSDKP Kupang Station, Badan Pemerintah Daerah (BAPPEDA) Kupang, Komandan Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI) Angkatan Laut (AL) VII Kupang, Universitas Muhammadiyah Kupang, Universitas Kristen Artha Wacana, Politeknik Kelautan dan Perikanan Kupang, CV. Era Charlie Pranata, UD. Tunas Harapan, PT. Primo Indo Ikan, The Nature Conservation (TNC), Asosiasi Pengusaha Pole and Line Handline Indonesia (AP2HI), Himpunan Nelayan Seluruh Indonesia (HNSI), Wild Conservation Society (WCS) Lamakera and fishermen. This DMC was facilitated by MDPI.

    The first presentation was delivered by PSDI DJPT KKP, discussing the results of the FAD (Fish Aggregating Device) management workshop and the harvest strategy national plan. The workshops described have made suggestions on appropriate management approaches and here are some which are currently on the table for discussion: proposed restrictions on the use of FADs; closure of some spawning areas; the management of the number of days of fishing operations and limiting the number of operating vessels. In addition, a simulation was conducted on how to fill in the FAD registration. The simulation was to anticipate the proposed FAD Amnesty.  The proposed FAD Amnesty aims to support Indonesia to conduct a mass data gathering on numbers of FADs active in Indonesian waters. The participants gave several inputs to the PSDI such as: to use 1 form for each FAD because the construction of FAD can be different from one to another although they are owned by the same person.

    The session which followed reviewed the duties and functions of the DMC during the six meetings that have been conducted, whether it is working properly or not. The function of DMC are: designing the technical strategy of data collection of catch result of each vessel in WPP 573, 713 and 714; analyzing and processing the catch data, reporting the result of data analysis and processing, giving suggestion and recommendation that can be used as a reference of management policy especially for tuna and tuna like species.

    Here are the following points that were discussed in the DMC:

    • Whether the DMC approach needs to be revised in order to maximize the role of DMC.
    • Future DMC financials: how to ensure the sustainability of DMCs by identifying ways of having budgets to cover future meetings aiming towards moving
    • Data presentation from MDPI (January – November 2017).
    • Data presentation from TNC and Hatfield about the use of Crew Operated Data Recording System (CODRS) on fishing ground data where fishermen were equipped with spot trace to know the location of the fishing ground during the fishing trip; scale to measure the fish; camera as the documentation when fishermen put the fish on the scale and the incentive for fishermen for participating in the data collection.
    • Research Presentation from Universitas Kristen Artha Wacana.
    • Research Presentation from Universitas Muhammadiyah Kupang.

    And here are the next 6 months plan of the DMC:

    • Resocialization related to the vessel registration.
    • Need data on tuna and tuna like species from other DMC members, industry should start committing to submissions
    • To identify what data is needed by the MMAF and ensure the DMC is aligned with this
    • Identifying ways to support fishermen’s needs on weather forecasts before they go fishing.

    The event was closed by the head of DMC, Pak Ernes D. Hamel, who hoped that the DMC members will be more actively involved, especially from the industry and fishermen who are the source of the data. He also hoped that other DMC members will also present their data because the DMC is the place where multi stakeholders meet and discuss the data in their region.

    Writer: Alief Dharmawan

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