As the Sustainability Intern I supported the Fishing & Living™ initiative to implement fishery improvement projects (FIPs) in Indonesia.
The initiative was set up by the international supplier Anova Seafood and was later formalized as the nonprofit organization MDPI. The purpose of Fishing & Living was to support the supplier’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities and implement improvement projects with the aim to work towards Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification of tuna fisheries in eastern Indonesia.
The main focus of the internship was to develop a data collection protocol to gather information on the interaction between handline yellowfin tuna fisheries and endangered, threatened, and protected species (ETPs), which is a key requirement of the MSC Fisheries Standard. In the case of handline tuna fisheries this would be to evidence that these are indeed selective fisheries with a low impact on vulnerable non-target species. To help inform the development of the protocol I lived for about a month in a local fishing community in South Sulawesi, during which I interviewed fishers and assessed and supported catch data collection activities at different landing sites. As everyone was so welcoming, open and proud to share their experiences, this has been a very rewarding experience.
Besides my time in Sulawesi, I was working at Anova’s office in Bali to further develop the protocol. From there I undertook additional trips to meet with stakeholders and kick-start the collection of ETP data. I trained several enumerators and a field officer on using a species identification guide, questionnaire, and entering the gathered data into a database. Related to the latter, I assisted the Indonesia Marine and Climate Support (IMACS) project of the USAID in the development of I-Fish - a fisheries information system for fishing boat captains, boat owners, and managers. The internship further focused on improving the catch data collection programme in place and the organization of a turtle awareness campaign in Lombok.
All in all, this has been a fantastic and invaluable learning experience. I am very grateful for the opportunity provided by Wageningen University and Anova Seafood to work with such a wide range of stakeholders to help improve the sustainability and market recognition of small-scale tuna fisheries in Indonesia.