Canned fish in Indonesia

Indonesia is an important player in the fish canning industry, with a domestic production capacity of 750,000 tonnes per year (BKPM, 2015). Indonesia produces canned sardines and mackerel (300 mln cans all together) for the domestic market (90%) and canned tuna for the export market (99%). Canned tuna exports held a volume of 76,752 tonnes in 2017 making Indonesia the sixth largest exporter of canned tuna products after countries like Thailand, Ecuador and the Philippines. For specific insights on the Indonesian fresh and frozen tuna industry, look at our tuna and bycatch page. Indonesian tuna canneries are confronted with a lack of raw materials. Its deep-sea fishery is not well developed and canneries are impacted heavily by the measures against IUU fishing taken by the government. Indonesia’s fishery Minister Susi Pudjiastuti imposed measures such as a ban on the transhipment of fish at open sea and the ban on license renewal for foreign-built vessels. Although the measures should result in a more sustainable fishery sector, in the short term the raw material shortage worsens. The ministry plans to purchase and build new modern vessels that should fill the void that the foreign vessels have left. Also, investments in local cold chains to reduce post-harvest loses of the domestic vessels are encouraged. Gradually domestic fish landings, infrastructure and supply to canneries should improve.

Canned fish
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Sourcing news

Canned fish production and export statistics

Species wise production

FAO (2018)

This figure provides domestic catch volumes of the species used in canning in Indonesia. The data needs to be nuanced as production numbers tend to be incomplete and uncertain due to monitoring difficulties and should be viewed as approximations. ‘Other’ include anchovy and herring species

Indonesian canneries use pelagic species. Tuna

species used for canning include skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis), yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), albacore (Thunnus alalunga) and bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus), with skipjack tuna being the dominant species in terms of volume. Other fishes canned in Indonesia include sardine (Sardinella lemuru, S. longiceps, S. fimbriata, S. gibbosa), mackerel and mackerel like species (family Scombridae and Carangidae). The 'Other' comprise herrings and anchovies.

Figures for 2015 show a decrease in production due to reduced tuna catches, which could be an effect of the crack down on illegal fisheries. In 2016, tuna catches are picking up again, which is mainly due to increased skipjack tuna catches. In the long run production figures should further increase as more fish resources become available for Indonesian fishermen and fish stocks have a chance to recover.

Import canned species in 2017 (tonnes)

Trade Map (2018), International Trade Centre,

In order to overcome the recent shortage of raw material the government has allowed several companies to import fish for canning to be re-exported or to be sold on the domestic market.

Imports of mackerel and sardine increased over 40,000 and 30,000 tonnes respectively between 2016-2017. Tuna imports however, that more than doubled between 2014-2016 to 13,000 tonnes, decreased in 2017 to 4,000 tonnes. Total import volumes increased with around 50,000 tonnes in 2017. The increased imports of mackerel and sardines were mainly sourced from China, Oman and Pakistan.

Canned fish export markets

Trade Map (2018), International Trade Centre,

Tuna canneries produce a wide range of prepared and preserved products beside canned tuna, which include by-products like pre-cooked tuna loins, tuna flakes and floss, pet

food and fish meal. Exports of prepared and preserved fish have shown a large increase from 58,913 in 2008 to 106,161 tonnes in 2014, after which exports decreased until 2017. The European Union is the most important market, whose imports increased with 5,000 tonnes between 2016-2017. Italy was the largest importer in 2017, having replaced the United Kingdom whose imports have been decreasing gradually since 2013. Western European countries predominantly import canned skipjack tuna, of which the United Kingdom is the primary buyer. South European countries, like Italy and Spain, have shown a substantial increase in imports and import a lot of pre-cooked yellowfin tuna loins to serve as input material for their canning industry.

In 2017, Indonesia was the second main exporter of canned tuna to Saudi-Arabia after Thailand, which is becoming a rising market for Halal preserved fish products. Exports to Japan have increased a bit recently, making Indonesia the second largest supplier of canned tuna products in 2017. For the United States, Indonesia ranks as 6th largest supplier of canned tuna products in 2017. Export to Thailand increased slightly. Main export markets that fall under ‘other’ sections are Australia, Ghana, Papua New Guinea and the Middle East.

In July 2016 the European Council has given permission to start the negotiations for a EU-Indonesian FTA. If these negotiations are completed successfully, the competitive position of Indonesian seafood in the European Union will improve significantly compared to e.g. Ecuador who already enjoys an FTA.

Canned export products in 2017 (tonnes)

Trade Map (2018), International Trade Centre,

Canned tuna exports are picking up again after a drop in 2014, and is predominantly exported to the European Union, Saudi Arabia, the United States and Japan. The sardine export market is relatively stable, and is imported by African countries such as Ghana and Benin but also Asian country like Malaysia and TImor-Leste. From 2012 onward the export share of mackerel decreased dramatically over the years to only from 3,845 tonnes to 60 tonnes in 2017.

Supply Chain

fish products

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Risk assessment

Environmental risks

  • IUU fishing
  • Over exploitation of fish stocks
  • Unwanted bycatch of endangered species like sharks and sea turtles

Social risks

  • Slavery on fishing boats
  • Working conditions in processing in distant areas
  • Corruption

Quality and supply chain risks

  • Inefficient and costly product distribution
  • Relatively high international freight costs
  • Distance from main markets
  • Shortages of raw materials
  • Traceability of the raw materials

Species in Indonesia

Click on the species and find out more about the species in Indonesia