In response to a request by President Clinton in July 2014, Bumble Bee/Anova will fund and coordinate thorough MDPI an assessment of fisheries in Banda Aceh and the Aceh province to identify the potential for improvement and development of the local fishing industry. MDPI's assessment will include a thorough investigation of the area, the status of the local fisheries, the capabilities of the local fishing industry, and the prospects for growth and expansion. This assessment will be completed by September 2014. This assessment will, at the very least, aid the community in how to reestablish a healthy fishery. If viable opportunities within the 'tuna' segment are identified, Bumble Bee would develop an additional CGI commitment to work within identified local communities to develop their fisheries for inclusion in Bumble Bee's supply chain, thus establishing a non-local market for local communities and providing economic opportunity. Fishing opportunities identified for species other than tuna will be shared broadly with the seafood industry, so that other interested parties may pursue development of these species for market.
MDPI has a very experienced team of fishery and community specialists who have worked extensively in small scale Indonesian fisheries. The program hires young men and women out of local universities and trains them in sustainability, responsible fishing, proper fish handling techniques, and safe fishing practices. They are placed in small fishing villages where they then train the fishermen. The fishermen benefit through higher catch rates, lower spoilage rates given training on fish handling techniques, higher revenues given increased catch and higher fish quality, and lower injury rates. MDPI provides all of the training materials. Anova purchases the fish and also gives back a percentage of the fish value to the local communities in the form of water filtration systems, toilets, school supplies, helmets for kids, etc. Importantly, MDPI staff collect fish catch statistics from fishing vessels and provide the data to the Indonesian government. This improves the accuracy and veracity of the information related to their domestic fishery and provides the scientific foundation upon which the government can develop responsible local fishery management policies.
MDPI representatives will visit Banda Aceh on July 19th, 2014 and meet with local fisherman and President Clinton. Based on initial discussions with local fisherman, MDPI will coordinate additional visits and/or meetings required to conduct the assessment. The assessment takes approximately two weeks with an additional two weeks for report preparation. The final report will be complete no later than September 2014 prior to the commencement of the CGI annual meeting.
The final assessment will be used to evaluate the feasibility of developing the local fishery for the market for tuna and other species. The assessment will be presented to fisherman with guidance on how to proceed. The assessment is critical in understanding the potential development of the fishery and will help guide fishermen in how to manage local fisheries for either restoration, sustainable growth, or harvesting, depending on the findings of the assessment.
Banda Aceh and the Aceh province in northern Sumatra, Indonesia suffered significant damage during the 2004 tsunami. CGI brought to Bumble Bee's attention that a village in the region with approximately 300 fishermen has experienced significant challenges harvesting fish and has struggled to develop a local fishing community that would help provide food locally and/or provide local economic benefits through sale of fish to non-local markets. The community of fishermen is interested in learning best practices, improving fishing operations, and identifying potential to develop a market for harvested fish outside the local community. A thriving local fishery could contribute to food security and, if properly developed, could also contribute to and benefit the local economy, the local residents, and the environment. Bumble Bee acquired Anova Foods in 2013, a leader in the market for fresh and frozen tuna in the U.S. Bumble Bee/Anova has been operating in Indonesia since 1994 where they found a very fragmented tuna industry with thousands of small, unorganized, and artisanal tuna fishermen with limited understanding of fish handling techniques, responsible fishing, and knowledge of how to compete in global markets. A program Anova initiated, Fishing & Living, works directly in local villages with fishermen. Through training and aiding in the establishment of external markets for their harvest, Fishing and Living provides local benefits to coastal communities. Given the success of Fishing & Living, a decision was made to move the program from an Anova-driven initiative to an Indonesian-driven initiative, and, in 2014, it was renamed MDPI, becoming an independent Indonesian environmental organization. Bumble Bee/Anova remain a large contributor to MDPI, and, through this organization, they believe they can assist Banda Aceh and the Aceh province in evaluating the opportunity to improve and develop the local fishing industry.