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Indonesia Starts Researching World’s Largest Tuna Catch

A paused tuna research project that studies the biological growth of tuna, its migratory routes and hatchery methods is due to restart at the Central Research Center for Marine Aquaculture in Buleleng, Indonesia. The study was halted due to its high cost.

Indonesian and Japanese scientists amalgamated to implement comprehensive and sustainable research projects on the Indonesian tuna catch. Indonesia is the world’s largest tuna catching nation, and in 2011 landed a huge 994,822 tons.

Khon Harianto Hutapea, a scientist at the research center said: “We have previously conducted tuna research with Japanese scientists and agencies. But in 2005, the project was stopped due to lack of funding. Tuna research requires a lot of funding, which at the time the Indonesian government did not allocate.”

This year, the tuna study, however, will restart with the allocated funding from the Indonesian state budget of USD 2.14 million. The floating fish net (KJA) method will be used for the research.

Tuna is a significant contribution to Indonesian economy but resources are continually under pressure across the globe due to overfishing and natural conditions including climate change. In 2011, Indonesian fishermen accounted for a whole 18 percent of the total global tuna catch.

But Indonesia has been subject to allegations of inaccurate, incomplete and inconsistent data reporting. In 2010, reported catch plummeted 33 percent from 2009 catch totals, and returned to previous levels in 2011.

Indonesian tuna fishermen rely on two fishing ground for their catch. The western central Pacific Ocean supplies 71 percent of Indonesia’s tuna landing, while 29 percent comes from the eastern Indian Ocean.

Khon added: “The continuation of the tuna research project is expected to set the way for the road map to developing sustainable tuna fisheries in Indonesia and to produce comprehensive data and information on tuna fisheries.”