YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia -- Indonesia is hosting the 24th meeting of the Commission for the Conservation of Southern Blue Fin Tuna (CCSBT), being held here since yesterday until Thursday, Indonesia's Antara news agency reported.

"This meeting is very important for Indonesia because it will discuss ways to guarantee the sustainability of tuna management, especially the blue fin tuna," director of fish resource management of the ministry of fisheries and maritime affairs, Reza Shah Pahlevi, said on the sideline of the meeting on Monday.

Eight CCSBT members consisting of Australia, the European Union, Taiwan, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand, and South Africa, as well as one non-member country, the Philippines, are attending the meeting.

Reza noted that Indonesia holds a very important position because of its strategic geographical position that directly borders two tuna-rich oceans in the world, namely the Pacific and Indian Ocean, making it one of the world's biggest tuna producers.

Based on FAO data, in 2016, Indonesia contributed almost 16 per cent of the total global tuna fish catch of various species, reaching 7.7 million metric tonnes or around 1.1 million tonnes.

With regard to blue fin tuna, known as the highest priced fish, Indonesia could earn up to Rp650 billion (RM203.46 million) per year, Reza remarked, adding that "blue fin tuna catch in Indonesia reaches 935 tonnes on average per year."

Chair of CCSBT Annual Meeting, Indra Jaya, revealed that the basic issues to be discussed at the meeting, which are connected to national interests, include the catch quota for southern blue fin tuna in Indonesia in 2017, which is to be set at 750 tonnes.

"The national interests depend on how Indonesia is able to use the quota that has been set by CCSBT member countries," he said.

Indra said in order to preserve sustainability, southern blue tuna catch in each member country must be limited as its number is also limited compared to other tuna species.

"Based on provisional data, by September 2017, southern blue fin tuna catch in Indonesia has reached 288 tonnes, which is still far below the quota," he concluded.


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