The Indonesian longline fishery has been decreasing the last years due to increased operational costs and resource depletion. Total catches in 2014 were 136,631 tonnes, of which 105,959 tonnes were tuna species (Fishery Yearbook 2015, DGCF). Compared to the purse seine and pole-and-line fishing, longline yields lower catch volumes but higher unit value, supplying the fresh fish/sashimi markets. The Indonesian Tuna Longline Association (ATLI) represents the interest of the tuna longline industry. Tuna longlining is locally known as ‘rawai tuna’. The Indonesian longline fishery for albacore, yellowfin and bigeye tuna is currently engaged in Fishery Improvement Project (FIP), which is lead by PT Intimas Surya.
Keep in mind that Indonesian fishery data is generally perceived as inaccurate and that these numbers below should be considered as approximations.
|Number of boats||
|Type of fishing||
Semi-intensive to industrial
FAO 57 and FAO 71
Big eye tuna, albacore, yellowfin tuna
North Sulawesi, Bali and West Java
Fleet and boat characteristics
Longline vessels are mainly below 200 GT and have sizes ranging between 30-70 meters. In 2014, 8,403 units were operating in Indonesia, of which 311 vessels held a license. According to the Indonesian Fishery Yearbook a fishing unit is a combination of boats and gear. When a fishing boat deploys two different gears over the course of a year, the number of fishery units is counted as two.
Most of the Indonesian industrial long line tuna fisheries operate with vessels usually below 200 GT and ranging between 30-70 meters long. Smaller vessels have also operated from Bitung in the past. These vessels may have super-cold storage facilities on board (-350C or below), enabling them to reside at sea for months and cover large fishing grounds. Yet, as super-cold storage facilities are expensive to install and run, not many longline vessels have this equipment on board and rely on chilling and freezing facilities (-350C or up).
Longline fishing use lines with baited lures or hooks with squid or small pelagic fish. The line is divided into units, consisting of a main horizontal line ranging from 200-800 m with several branch lines with baited hooks. A typical longline has 200 or more units, and around 3,000 branch lines with hooks (FAO Fisheries & Aquaculture Department, 2016).
Longliners target tuna species that inhabit deeper waters, such as big eye tuna, albacore, yellowfin tuna but also catch frigate tuna, and skipjack. Frequent bycatch species are swordfish, requiem shark and black marlin.
Most of the industrial longliners operate in the Indian Ocean (FAO area 57) and Pacific Ocean (FAO area 71).
According to government statistics North Sulawesi (OFP: Bitung) had the highest landing volume of all the provinces, but the majority of catches were landed in Eastern Indonesia; Bali (Benoa, state-owned), DKI Jakarta (OFP: Nizam Zachman Jakarta), West Java (AFP: Pelabuhan Ratu and Kejawanan).
Tuna is a seasonal and migratory species. High season for catching tuna in the Pacific Ocean are from March to October, with peak catches in March to August (WCFPC, 2009). Peak seasons in the Indian Ocean are from February to March and September-November (IOTC, 2012).
In the Indian Ocean the yellowfin tuna stock is at high risk, as overfishing occurs and the population is overfished. For the Pacific Ocean stock statuses are unknown, except for albacore whose stock is at low risk (RASS, 2016).
Longline fishing has a negative reputation because of its bycatch of juvenile fish and endangered species, like seabirds, sharks and sea turtles.