Sea Delight representatives, representatives of WWF Indonesia and members of the local hand line tuna fishing community met recently on Alor Island, Indonesia. As it was the peak of the windy off-season for tuna, a wide range of community members were available for the meeting, including some of the most experienced fishers.
Mr. Dwi Ariyogagautama (Yoga), WWF Tuna Improvement Senior Officer, has already implemented a catch data collection system with the fishing community and have the full support of the community members. This implemented system collects detailed weight, length, catch area, effort and economic data on each fish caught.
Mr Yoga shared, “It was a big challenge to implement a logbook system here. We had to develop the position of data enumerators using members of the fishing community and do it without monitoring assistance from local government. We hope that not only the local fishing community here in Alor will support this system, but also local government, neighboring tuna fisheries and the entire fishing industry will support our efforts and participate in expanding the monitoring program.”
The current logbook system does not collect state of reproductive maturity data. Local fishers advised that since the fish were gilled and gutted at sea, for quality reasons, the only place to collect such data was at sea, by the fishers themselves.
Several fishers volunteered for training on this task and filled out the forms needed. It was decided to implement this program on a trial basis, once the tuna season begins by the end of October.
Sea Delight representatives also distributed copies of the South Pacific Commission’s “On-board Handling of Sashimi Tuna” translated into Indonesian. This manual explains the best way to handle hand line caught tuna for optimum quality. The fishers said they understood the handling practices described and would implement them, but needed more access to ice for the short day trips they take. Sea Delight and WWF agreed to address this issue through the local tuna buyers.
Sea Delight also discussed the use of circle hooks as opposed to the standard straight or J hooks now used in the fishery. The members was surprised to learn that in Sea Delight’s voluntary catch report records collected in Vietnam for the last year, circle hooks have had significantly higher catch rates for tuna than J hooks. Sea Delight donated 100 size number 13 circle hooks for the fishers to try and to report on soon.
Sea Delight representatives and local tuna buyers will now expand the data collection system developed by WWF Indonesia to other hand line tuna fishing communities in the Kupang/Alor region where fish is sourced for Sea Delight products. Sea Delight will actively support Mr. Yoga’s efforts to gain support from other fisheries and local government for the expanding data collection efforts.