Latest in Buru: From fisher-led cooperative to fish supplier

In Buru Island, Maluku, the Latamiha Indah Bersatu Cooperative, established in 2021 with MDPI’s support, continues to make strides towards their autonomy for becoming a fish supplier. For years, fishers were dependent to other suppliers, having lesser income and role in the supply chain until they have their own fish collection facility.

Before selling their catches to the factory, members of Latamiha Indah Bersatu Cooperative will trim the loins in this facility. Located near to shore, this place functions as a tuna-collecting trading spot in Buru.

The Latamiha Indah Bersatu Cooperative was created by the fishers of Latamiha, a Fair Trade USA-certified fisher association. The cooperative is now run by fishing households, aiming to improve its members’ economy through the fish trade business.

For years, the fishing families of Latamiha Indah Bersatu Cooperative relied on other suppliers, resulting in smaller incomes compared to doing the business on their own. This reliance also limited their market power, as they were dependent to a third party.

Supported by MDPI’s cooperative program, the fishers transitioned from solely selling whole and cut fish, to selling fresh tuna loins. This assistance focuses not only on improving their economic status but also on ensuring the sustainability of the coastal community.

The Latamiha Indah Bersatu Cooperative uses their trading location as headquarters to discuss and brainstorm their business management and organization.

MDPI’s ongoing collaboration with the cooperative involves trainings on responsible fishery practices in the supply chain, fish handling and quality, marketing, bookkeeping and institutional strategies. From the start, we have supported the cooperative in practicing responsible fishing within the supply chain, maintaining fish quality, marketing, bookkeeping, and developing institutional strategies to achieve independence.

The Latamiha Indah Bersatu Cooperative aspires to meet the tuna demands from the export market,  as well as to improve Buru Regency’s economy, offering a fair and transparent alternative for tuna supply.