One indicator of a country’s sovereignty is being able to meet the basic needs of its people in terms of food, clothing, shelter, and security. In addition, countries that are recognized for their sovereignty must also be able to get along in the world community in meeting these basic needs on a global scale, one of which is by importing exports. Recently, Indonesia has made a history of becoming the world’s largest supplier of tuna in the past 5 years.
The efforts of the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Susi Pudjiastuti, to sink foreign vessels seeking illegal fish in the Nusantara Sea have had significant positive impacts. One of them is making Indonesia the largest tuna producing country in the world.
There is not joking around, Indonesia now accounts for 16 percent of global tuna production. The catch value per year is very large, reaching 5 billion US dollars or around Rp71 trillion (exchange rate of Rp14,200 per US dollar). “About one in six tuna caught worldwide over the past three years comes from Indonesia, which constitutes 16 percent of world tuna production,” Director General of Capture Fisheries M. Zulficar Mochtar was quoted by SCMP on Friday (3/22/2019).
As the largest tuna producer, Indonesia is a major supplier of foreign markets such as Japan, America, European Union, Korea, and Hong Kong. The biggest market is the United States, which consumes almost half of Indonesia’s tuna catches, most of which are whole fish or frozen fillets.
It is known, Indonesian tuna exports to America have surged 130 percent since 2014. Fishermen carry out loading and unloading of tuna caught at Muara Baru Port, Penjaringan, North Jakarta, Tuesday (12/04/2018). Indonesia’s tuna export volume as quoted from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries data reached 198,131 tons with a value of 659.99 million US dollars in 2017. Even Japan, which is identical to sushi as its specialty, has imported almost a quarter of Indonesian tuna last year.
Hadi Wijaja, Director of a fish processing company in East Java Bahari Biru Nusantara said that they can process 35 tons of fish per day or 5,000 tons per year. Bahari Biru Nusantara and 20 other fish suppliers from Indonesia even managed to enter the 2019 Seafood Expo North America, the largest seafood trade exhibition on the continent. With Indonesia’s success in entering one of the biggest exhibitions, Indonesia was able to show its visibility as the world’s best producer of high-quality tuna and to satisfy its potential customers.
The growth of tuna supply in Indonesia cannot separate from the performance of the Minister of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Susi Pudjiastuti. Under Susi’s supervision, hundreds of foreign fishing vessels that illegally fish in Indonesian waters have been sunk. It is this crackdown that has increased Indonesia’s fish supply and has increased Indonesia’s reputation for being transparent and without tolerance for illegal practices. Indonesia has also developed a modern and efficient processing industry to overcome the volume of fish caught.
In addition to the problem of illegal fishing, Minister Susi has also arranged good fishing methods for fishermen. Indonesian fishermen are prohibited from fishing using tiger trawlers so as to eliminate the risk of unwanted catches.
Indonesian fishing vessels only use large nets that are more environmentally friendly. In recent years, Indonesia has become the second country after Japan to traditionally fish. “Experts estimate that nearly 20 percent of Indonesian tuna can be captured by this environmentally friendly method,” the South China Morning Post wrote. Because of this eco-friendly capture, last November one of Indonesia’s fish suppliers received the Marine Stewardship Council certification for sustainable fisheries, one of the most stringent certification related to the practice of wild fishing.