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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