Indonesia Fair Trade program: 3 New Fishermen Associations in Seram

Following the great success of the Fair Trade program in fishing communities in Buru, Seram and Ambon islands, MDPI in partnership with Harta Samudra and Anova are tirelessly working on bringing the Fair Trade principles and benefits to new fishing communities. Last month, 3 new fishermen associations were formed in North Seram, adding 47 fishermen to the program. These fishermen have now started studying the Fair Trade requirements and structure with the goal of becoming certified withing the next year. Let’s welcome these fishermen to the program!



Seram Fair Trade fishermen associations receive Fair Trade Premium



Following their official certification in January 2016, the 5 fishermen associations from Seram, Indonesia, received their first Fair Trade premium check.   The 5 fishermen associations consist of 125 fishermen who catch Yellowfin tuna from small single-handed vessels using handline gear and conducting 1 day fishing trips. The Yellowfin is then sold to an Indonesian processor and imported by Anova in the U.S. market. When consumers buy Fair Trade tuna product, the fishermen associations receive a fixed premium (10% extra of the dock price) which they can spend towards improvements of their community. With their first premium check, the fishermen associations in Seram have been discussing programs which they would like to fund. These include clean water infrastructure, waste management and recycling, GPS units for the fishermen and data collection on Endangered, Threatened and Protected Species.

Since Fair Trade USA released the first Fair Trade standard for wild capture fisheries in 2014, Anova, in cooperation with its partner NGO in Indonesia (Masyarakat Dan Perikanan Indonesia- MDPI) has supported the implementation of this standard for small-scale handline tuna fisheries. To date over 500 fishermen have entered the program and are receiving Fair Trade premium funds for their responsible fishing practices and the support they provide to their communities.  The standards aims to address 6 areas 1) Fishermen organization 2) Empowerment and Community Development 3) Human rights 4) Fair wages and good working conditions 5) Environmental management and 6) Transparent supply chains.

How the Fair Trade Program is helping Handline Fishermen in Indonesia

It has been almost a year since the Maluku Handline fishery became certified against the Fair Trade standard for capture fisheries. The program has already had a significant impact on the life of fishermen and fishing communities, which now includes over 400 handline fishermen and 20 fishermen associations, spread across 4 regions in Eastern Indonesia. MDPI, Anova Food USA’s partner in the field, has been working relentlessly to encourage and train new fishermen to join the program. When joining the program, fishermen must form an association which becomes a platform for discussing various aspects of the fishery such as environmental management and community development. Fishermen associations may also give fishermen the opportunity for their interests to be represented in fisheries management.


Fair Trade fisherman signing up to form a fisherman association © MDPI


Fair Trade fisherman associations are formed with the support of MDPI field staff © MDPI


MDPI helps fishermen learn about the Fair Trade program © MDPI

Through its partnership with MDPI, Anova Food USA, currently supports the implementation of the program through the funding of field staff who help fishermen form fishermen association and conduct the necessary training for these associations to meet the FairTrade requirements and join the program. Click here to learn more about how the Fair Trade program works.


MDPI trains fisherman association on the FairTrade program © MDPI


Fishermen Fair Trade information points are placed in the fishing communities © MDPI

By becoming part of the Fair Trade program, fishermen receive an equitable price for their catch and can use the Fair Trade premium to invest in projects that improve the welfare of the community. First, fishermen, with the support of MDPI, carry out a needs assessment to identify the social, economic and environmental development needs of their community and the environment. Based on the results, fishermen discuss and vote on how the premium will be used. The premium can be used on any project that improves the welfare of the community and the environmental sustainability of the fishery. MDPI makes sure fishermen get the appropriate training on how to estimate their catch and the associated premium and how to build a premium plan to fund community and environmental improvement projects.

Since last October, FairTrade fishermen associations have been planning and implementing projects, using the FT premium to improve life in their communities. So far projects have included improved infrastructure for waste disposal and water distribution as well as additional safety on board equipment such as First Aid kits and life jackets.

Material miniplan Buru - Copy

Using the Fair Trade premium, fishermen associations implement projects to improve life in the fishing communities


Fair Trade fishermen follow Safety-at- Sea trainings © MDPI

The Fair Trade program also aims to ensure safe working and living conditions for fishermen. Under the Fair Trade standard fishermen must follow trainings related to Safety-at-Sea and First Aid response. Discrimination, forced labour, human trafficking and child labour are all banned and tightly controlled under the Fair Trade program.

To learn more about the program click here.

Anova/Fishing & Living partners with Fair Trade suppliers to improve tuna receiving stations

Material miniplan BuruThe Fair Trade fisheries program aims to promote resilient livelihoods in coastal communities through enhanced environmental stewardship, ecosystem protection and improved working and living conditions. Therefore, one of the criteria under the Fair Trade Standard for Wild Capture Fisheries requires Health & Safety Measures to be in place for fishermen and landing site staff.

Work processes, workplaces (including vessels, docks, landing sites), machinery and equipment, and worker transportation are as safe as possible, and equipped with adequate safety devices”.(SR-OH 1.1, Fair Trade Wild Capture Fisheries Standard, 2013).

In order to idenfity the needed improvements to meet this important requirement, MDPI (Anova Fishing & Living initative’s partner NGO in Indonesia) conducted a comprehensive risk assessment of all Fair Trade landing sites (1 on North Buru Island and 3 in Assilulu (Ambon Island)).




P_20150326_175817The results show that upgrading the receiving stations where Fair Trade tuna is landed and processed would improve the Health & Safety of fishermen and receiving station employees as well as handling of tuna products.

In response to MDPI’s findings, Anova’s Fishing & Living initative has partnered with local suppliers and provided funding to renovate receiving stations in North Buru and Ambon Islands in order to ensure the safety of workers and improve the handling of tuna products.



This project is expected to:

1)      Significantly improve the working conditions of workers in the receiving station;

2)      Improve the quality of tuna products caught by Fair Trade fishermen by reducing the contamination risks of tuna products, meaning more Fair Trade tuna reaching the market and additional revenue for the Fair Trade certified fishermen

3)      Improve compliance with the Fair Trade standard for wild fisheries

The construction of the 4 receiving stations has already started and is expected to be finalized in July 2015.


Map of Fair Trade Fishers Associations

Fair Trade update from the Field

April 2015

Since certification was announced for 4 Fishers Associations last October, our Fair Trade team has been busy working closely with the fishermen and suppliers to implement continuous improvements, as part of the Fair Trade program.

New Fishers Associations

AssiluluSince December 2014, six new Fishermen Associations were formed in North Buru Island and 7 fishers associations were formed in South Buru Islands. Each new association will have a representative in the Buru Fair Trade Committee, formed in June 2014.  The Buru Fair Trade Committee will then represent 14 Fishermen Associations and 261 fishermen.

Fishermen based on the island of Seram have also been added to the program, with the formation of 3 fishermen associations in April 2015.


A workshop was conducted in Toli-Toli (North Sulawesi) to introduce the Fair Trade program to local fishermen and suppliers. Local government representatives were also present and expressed their support to the program. Learn more about the workshop here.

The addition of these new fishermen associations adds 306 fishermen to the Fair Trade program bringing the total number of fishermen in the program to 410.

Map of Fair Trade sites



IMG_2054The first premiums were received by both Fair Trade committees: Assilulu and Buru Fair Trade Committees. After the low fishing season, from November to March, fishermen have just started going out to sea in March and will continue receiving the Fair Trade premium throughout the fishing season. To learn more about how the Fair Trade premium works click here.


Fair Trade stakeholders share their experiences

Last November, a small group of handline fishermen in Waepure, Buru Island obtained the first Fair Trade certification for wild capture fisheries in the world! Those involved in achieving this certification share their experiences with us.

Ahmad Sanduan: Chairman FairTrade fisherman group in Assilulu, Ambon Island, Maluku Province

Ft fishermanName                                        : Ahmad Sanduan

Age                                            : 42

Engines                                    : 1 GT

Length of ship                       : 8.5m/28ft

Ship Ownership                    : Private

Fishing gear used                 : Hand line

Type of fish caught              : Yellowfin Tuna


“As a fisherman I am very proud of achieving the first Fair Trade certification for capture fisheries. I am grateful of MDPI’s and ANOVA’s support who introduced us to the Fair Trade program and helped us develop it for our community. In Assilulu, we never had a successful group of fishermen before the Fair Trade program. Our first attempt to form a group failed due to the absence of a facilitator and lack of proper management. We see the fair trade program as a great opportunity because in addition to FT premium, we are learning to organize ourselves professionally and independently. The Fair Trade program will help us develop our community by giving us the means to develop and invest in projects that aim to reduce poverty and protect the environment. For instance, ban on destructive fishing methods, ban on the capture of protected animals, transparent fish trade, ban on child labor, improved fish preservation techniques to get the best return and many more will be undertaken to improve the lives of fishermen and the environment.”

Ufu: MDPI Field Site Manager in Assilulu, Ambon Island, Maluku Province

Ufu“My responsibility is to manage all MDPI field activities such as data collection, Fair Trade, IFFIT (Traceability), and community development projects. Every month I make a work plan and schedule for each activity. I am proud to have been given this important responsibility: the work is exciting and fulfilling, with each activity having different challenges. For instance, the level of education of fishermen varies greatly with some being completely illiterate. My job involves dealing with individual characters and working with fishermen whose knowledge is limited to what they experience at sea. This presents challenges as we try to introduce scientific data and concepts on how the fishery works. My job also consists in building trusting relationships with fishermen and motivate them to take the necessary steps such as forming fishermen groups. I want to tell them that through the Fair Trade program fisherman can no longer be the poorest profession in Indonesia.”

“From the beginning, Fair Trade was a challenge but I saw it as great opportunity to realize the ideals of poor fishing communities. Fishermen have a strong desire to be able to live in prosperity and therefore my top priority is to, through the Fair Trade program, give them the means and knowledge to do so. I believe that the Fair Trade is exactly what they need with its three principles: economic, social and environmental.”

Toni Mirawijaya: Local fish trader in Waepure, Buru Island

Pak Toni was thrilled when he heard the news that the fishermen of Waepure got the Fair Trade certification. “My first reaction was to invite head of Waepure village and all fair trade fishermen to meet and celebrate the wonderful news. I truly believe that the FairTrade program will help us, all fishermen and the people of Waepure to realize our dreams for improving our communities”. With Fair Trade certification, his dream has come true. “I am extremely proud of our fishermen”.


FairTrade is a people based certification model that, at the same time, support environmental fisheries improvements. FairTrade certification covers 6 aspects:

1)      Structures must be in place to ensure fair business practices (Fisher Association, Fair Trade committee and a Market Access Partner)

2)      Empowerment: conduct meetings of the Fishers association, establish bank account and democratic management of the FairTrade premiums

3)      Economic development: fishermen are paid a share of the catch, conditions of employment comply with the FairTrade standard and fishers receive a premium (1-10% on top of the regular price)

4)      Social responsibility: no bonded labor, no child labor, occupational health & safety et.

5)      Resource management: biodiversity protection, overfishing, scientific data collection on fish stocks, waste management etc.

Indonesian Fishermen become FairTrade certified


(c) FairTade USA/Paul Hilton

In October 2014, 8 fishermen associations became certified against the first FairTrade Wild Capture Fisheries standard. Since August 2013, Fishing & Living, MDPI, Anova USA, Fair Trade USA and, of course, the fishermen, have been working continuously to bring the Central Maluku Yellowfin tuna fishery to FairTrade certification. It has not been an easy journey but it has certainly been a worthwhile one!

FairTrade’s goal is to see more resilient livelihoods in coastal communities, improved working and living conditions, increased supply and demand for responsibly sourced seafood, and enhanced environmental stewardship and ecosystem protection. The philosophy of FairTrade certification is directly in line with Fishing & Living’s vision that sustainable fisheries go hand in hand with thriving fishing communities.


What did it take to achieve FairTrade USA certification?

1. Development of the standard

Since 2012, FairTrade USA has been in conversations with fishing communities, marine conservation specialists, marine certification experts and market partners throughout the supply chain. These conversations and exchanges helped develop the FairTrade standard for capture fisheries. Each of the allies involved in the development and implementation. Anova/ Fishing & Living’s participation, as the one of the market partners has consisted in engaging its supply chain partners and providing feedback on the realities faced by fishing communities, ensuring that the fishermen and its community is at the center of the standard.

In May 2013, the FairTrade Fisheries Advisory Council (FAC) was elected to consult on the conservation, economic and applied aspects of the Fair Trade Fisheries program. The members can be viewed here.

2. Implementation: Fishermen Training and formation of fishermen associations

The implementation phase started in August 2013, when Asilulu (Ambon Island) was chosen as the first site and Coral Triangle Processors (CTP)/ Anova USA were designated as the Market Access Partner. A series of workshops took place, such as FairTrade certified farmers sharing their experience with the fishermen and the formation of 3 initial fishermen associations. From November 2013 to March 2014, fishermen from Buru Island were added to the FairTrade pilot and 5 fishermen associations were formed. Led by Momo Kochen, our partner NGO Masyarakat dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI) has been instrumental in carrying out trainings, organizing meetings among fishermen and preparing the Islands’ FairTrade Committees (FTC) for the first audit. A dedicated MDPI FairTrade team are based in each location.


Fair Trade Commitee- Buru Island

In both location (Buru Island and Asilulu) 2 Fair Trade Committees (FTC) were formed in April 2014. Each FTC consists of representatives of each fishermen association. It is the FTCs that receive the FairTrade premium and manage how it will be invested in community development projects as well as improvement of the sustainability of their fishery.






3. Audit

In June 2014, the Year 0 audit was carried out by SCS Global Services. The FairTrade standard uses a stepwise approach over a period of 5 years. This means that every year, the FairTrade fishermen groups will undergo an audit that requires continuous improvements of social, economic and environmental aspec

4. Certification

In October 2014, the two FTCs became FairTrade certified. Read here what it means to the fishermen and the hard-working team of MDPI!

5. The FairTrade Premium


December 2014-Buru Island Fair Trade Committee receives first Premium Fund check

In December 2014, the 2 FTCs received their first FairTrade premium checks. Coral Triangle Processor/Anova USA are the Market Access Partner. This means they are responsible for submitting the premium to the two Fair Trade Committees. The premium is defined by Fair Trade USA and consists of approximately 10% of the price at landing. Safeway, one of Fair Trade’s USA retail partner, will be the distributing the product to market.








MDPI conducts First Medical Response training for fishermen

Basic training in First Medical Response (MFR) for FairTrade Fishermen and Fishing Industry in Ambon, Maluku

MFR pic1  As part of the Fair Trade pilot program being implemented in Anova supply chains in Eastern Indonesia, MDPI, Fishing & Living’s partner on the ground, held a Fair Trade sponsored,  first response medical training for a selected number of fishers, processing plant staff and villagers. The idea behind the training was to ensure that an adequate number of trained persons are available in each village or landing area to accommodate any emergencies which may occur related to fishermen or fishing activities.

20 people participated in the training: 8 people from Assilulu, Ambon based fisher associations, 4 from Buru island based fisher associations, 4 MDPI Staff and 4 from our partner processing facilities in the region.



The head of the national search and rescue agency (Basarnas) for the Maluku region opened the training and explained that the training would be conducted using 2 methods, theory and practice.  Additionally, Lalu Hizbulloh, MDPI, motivated the participants to describe real life situations. Field conditions for fishermen are very prone to accidents and rural fishing villages have limited access to to health centres and hospitalss.




The trained individuals are now confident to help anyone subject to minor accidents, at least to such a level that the transfer to the nearest hospital is possible. The participants were specifically chosen to ensure that trained individuals are spread out between all the villages participating in the Fair Trade project. In addition to the training, medical posts were created in each location where there is a trained first responder. Each village was given an extensive medical kit with materials and medical products to support the trainee in conducting his/her duties as local first aid appointee.

MDPI would like to thank Fair Trade and Anova LLC for their kind contribution in making this training possible.