Indonesia is expanding tuna farming to improve its aquaculture sector and advance sustainability practices. Indonesia captures the most tuna of any country, accounting for around 16% of the world’s total tuna supply. However, exploitation of wild tuna in Indonesian seas has become unsustainable, with much of the country’s fishing areas in the Pacific and Indian oceans already completely exploited and numerous tuna species threatened by overfishing.
The Indonesian fisheries ministry has implemented several measures over the years to keep tuna production sustainable, including harvest controls, monitoring specific species in a few fisheries areas, managing fish-aggregating devices, and encouraging fishers to achieve international-standard sustainability certification. To supplement these efforts, the government is currently exploring establishing tuna farms in the country’s bays.
The government also urges additional tuna fisheries in Indonesia to get sustainable certification and eco-labeling. There are many methods to ensure that fish populations are sustainable, that environmental impacts are minimized, that labor rights are maintained, that supply chain transparency and traceability are in place, and that best practices regulate management.
The tuna sector in Indonesia is a significant source of income for coastal communities and a vital food supply for customers worldwide. In 2021, the country harvested 791,000 metric tons of tuna, worth IDR 22 trillion (USD 1.5 billion). Exports were 174,764 metric tons, worth more than IDR 10.6 trillion (USD 710 million). They were mainly bound for the US, Japan, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, the European Union, Australia, Vietnam, the United Kingdom, and the Philippines.
President Joko Widodo directed the fisheries ministry to increase the country’s aquaculture production at the start of his second term in office in 2019. From 1990 to 2018, global aquaculture production increased by 527%, with Indonesia among the top producers. The country’s aquaculture output was 12.25 million metric tons in the third quarter of 2021, a 6% increase over the same period in 2020. According to the ministry, the aquaculture industry provided USD 1.94 million in non-tax state revenue for the fiscal year ending November 2021, much above the planned amount of USD 1.39 million.