One by one, fish by fish

Facts & figures

Skipjack tuna
15-20 fishermen
Bitung, Indonesia


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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Indonesia's tuna fishery is one of the largest in the world. 16 percent of the total tuna catch comes from it - translating to about 1 million tons of fish per year. Much of this is unfortunately still caught in unsustainable ways, but a growing proportion is fortunately responsible fish, caught with just a pole & line, as in Bitung. Through the work of the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF), our own Fish Tales Foundation and local fishermen, this fishery has been Fair Trade and MSC-certified since February 2020. This fishery sets the perfect example of how we need to fish tuna in the future. Because we truly believe that if we take good care of the fishermen, they will take good care of the oceans.

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.”

Bije is from a real fishing family and knew how to catch fish when he was ten years old. He started working for this fishery 11 years ago. Bije is now the assistant captain and makes sure that the fishing boat goes to the ideal tuna spot. From there, he joins the other tuna fishers and uses pole and line to catch the tasty skipjack tuna. One by one!

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