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: a growing part is done fairly, caught with just a fishline or a rod, like in Bitung. In cooperation with the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) we at Fish Tales are working hard to get the local fishermen their MSC-certification.
The tuna fishermen on Bitung fish with a pole and line. One by one, fish by fish.
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 of fishing for tuna.
Bitung is the most important harbour city in the province of North-Celebes, in the Celebes Sea. Often large cruise ships dock in the harbour because of the many surrounding diving areas - an important tourist attraction.
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 bite for large fish and sharks. Worldwide most of the skipjack tuna ends up in tins. But don’t think that it under delivers in taste: the fish meat is firm, round and fatty.
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 beaming.
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