One by one, fish by fish

Facts & figures

Skipjack tuna
15-20 fishermen
2015
Bitung, Indonesia
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Bitung

The province North-Sulawesi takes up about 1% of Indonesia. However, more than half of all national catch is caught here. And it’s good!

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The Indonesian tuna fishery is one of the biggest in the world. 16% of the total tuna catch comes from here - comprising about 1 million tonnes of fish a year. Large part of that is, unfortunately, caught in a non-sustainable way, but the good news is that a growing part is done honestly - caught with just a fishline or a pole and line, like in Bitung. In cooperation with the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) we at Sea Tales are working hard to get the local fishermen their MSC-certification.

Fishing method

The tuna fishermen on Bitung fish with a pole and line. One by one, fish by fish.

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With this traditional method, the fishermen only catch tuna - overfishing is fairly impossible when you only catch one fish at a time. So there’s no bycatch nor environmental damage. Making this the most sustainable way of fishing for tuna.

Tourist attraction

Bitung is the most important harbor city in the province of North-Sulawesi, in the Sulawesi Sea. Often large cruise ships dock in the harbor because of the many surrounding diving areas - an important tourist attraction.

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Skipjack tuna

The skipjack tuna is the smallest tuna in the world, but it makes up for it in taste. It swims in large schools of about 50,000 tuna fish around the equator and is both a predatory fish as the favorite little bite for large fish and sharks. Worldwide most of the skipjack tuna ends up in cans. But don’t think that it under delivers in taste: the fish meat is firm, round and fatty.

“My whole family works in the fishery.”

Datang is only 41 years old but has been working as a fisherman for 31 years. Despite his demanding job, he’s a real family man: after a long night at sea he loves to come home and be with his family. When we ask him how he likes to eat tuna that he catches himself, his answers explain it all. “I like it the way my wife prepares it,” he says beamingly.

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