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Technology Innovations Towards Sustainability in Indonesia’s Tuna Supply Chains

This NWO-funded project looks specifically at the role of technology in addressing traceability and information needs, and will run from May 2015 to November 2016.

Project background

Indonesian fishermen and processors require technological advances to remain competitive in an environment of ever-increasing informational demands. There are signs that value chain actors are willing to invest in low cost information infrastructures that they can utilize to organize their own informational flows and contribute to traceable product as required by traders and demanded by buyers. But the success of the technologies put in place by processors is ultimately reliant on the enrolment, compliance and understanding of fishers about the commercial and sustainability importance of collecting and communicating fishery and traceability related data.

Objectives and research questions

This project will pilot and research traceability-based technologies (TBTs) that facilitate improved information flows and help both tuna fishermen and processors in Indonesia to meet informational requirements. A current bottleneck for traders of Indonesian seafood is being able to guarantee product and origin. Simultaneously, a bottleneck for producers to organize and communicate such information to traders exists because of what are thought to be presumably high costs of traceability systems. Development of a low cost bidirectional information platform can create the type of facilitating environment necessary to keep Indonesian value chain actors competitive. As Indonesia continues to aim for increased seafood exports, participating in traceability, and doing so easily through TBTs, will be essential.

Research Questions

  1. What are the informational demands of Indonesia’s fishers and processors?
  2. How can information incentivize compliance with regulatory demands and improve market integration?
  3. Does the emergence of TBTs offer economic benefits?
  4. Can private information systems supplement government regulation?

Project activities

Needs assessment: Community meetings and interviews with fishermen and processors will be conducted to ascertain knowledge of market dynamics, the national and global regulatory environment, and traceability systems, and to try to understand what kinds of information they lack but could benefit from.

Implementation: Development of TBTs will be undertaken by working with fishermen, processors and technology providers. Technology hardware will be introduced into processing plants and at fisheries landing sites, and a mobile phone app will be developed to help link information from fishermen with processors and with government catch data.

Evaluation: Various forms of fisheries and market information will be shown to fishers, with a survey about the comprehensibility of the various forms accompanying the presentations. This will help to determine in what forms information is most accessible to fishers and what information meets their demands. Surveys with processing partners will be undertaken to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the current system. We will also assess the extent to which information influences fishermen behaviour in the regulatory process.

Adaptation: The final phase of the project dedicated to adapting and modifying the TBT based on the evaluation results. Possible changes in software, information input and information output will be considered. We will identify bottlenecks to collecting, collating and communicating information.

PI: Dr. Megan Bailey (
Postdoc: Dr. Rini Kusumawati (



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