JAKARTA – The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) launched an electronic catch documentation and traceability (CDT) system for tuna to combat illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud in Indonesia, the world’s largest tuna-fishing nation. The CDT system will support collection of key data on tuna products, including legality and product movement from harvest to the end consumer.
Overfishing combined with IUU and destructive fishing practices are degrading the highest marine biodiversity area in the world and causing fisheries to decline, if not collapse. Precise data on illegal fishing is often a challenge to collect, and estimates put IUU-related economic losses for Indonesia at an estimated $3 billion annually.
“The new electronic system lets fisherman, government, and seafood companies know how, when, where, and how much tuna was caught in Indonesia, ultimately helping ensure legality from bait to plate. The critical information also informs the Indonesian government’s strategy to sustainability manage its marine resources,” said USAID ASEAN Principal Officer Erin McKee. “The United States along with our partner IPNLF are committed to advancing sustainable fishing practices in Indonesia because we know that a depleting tuna supply can have devastating effects on Indonesian fishermen’s livelihood and the world’s supply of seafood.”
Indonesia is a heavy exporter of fisheries products headed to the United States, which imported more than 40,000 tons of Indonesian tuna, crab, and snapper in 2016, and traceability has become an integral part of market commitments globally. Traceability supports the widespread demand for robust, verifiable information about fish origins. It also offers governments the opportunity to strengthen fisheries management, improve labor conditions for fishers, and provide a market-based approach to deter IUU fishing.
“Our partnership with USAID ensures that we and our partners can help improve coastal tuna fisheries in a sustainable way,” said Martin Purves, Managing Director of IPNLF. “By boosting consumer confidence in the products that they are buying, the CDT system will provide invaluable support for the coastal fisheries we work with, enabling them to maintain decent living standards and safeguard the future of vital fish stocks and marine habitats.”
The CDT system will be piloted at sites in Indonesia and the Philippines before expansion throughout the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. The CDT is one of the many U.S. initiatives in support of ASEAN and its 10 Member States. The United States partners with ASEAN to support economic integration, expand maritime cooperation, cultivate emerging leaders, promote opportunity for women, and address transnational challenges. Through USAID’s cooperation with ASEAN, the United States helps address the root causes of poverty and instability and helps to lay foundations of prosperity and security. The United States and ASEAN celebrate 40 years of partnership in 2017, marking a deepened collaboration under the U.S.-ASEAN Strategic Partnership.