The dynamics and sustainability of Ambon’s smoked tuna trade
Hayward, P & Mosse, JW 2012, 'The dynamics and sustainability of Ambon’s smoked tuna trade', Journal of Marine and Island Cultures, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 3-10.
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This article analyses the contemporary nature of the smoked tuna (ikan asar1) trade in Ambon city (in Maluku province, eastern Indonesia) with particular regard to the operation of its central precinct along Piere Tendean Road, between the outer city suburbs of Galala and Hative Kecil, and the connection between this area and the region’s fishing grounds. The precinct is chosen as a focus since its location has been determined by a complex set of historically determined socio-political forces that are still actively in play. The article’s case study emphasises the dynamic nature of circumstances concerning the supply chain of products in locations experiencing substantial population growth, socio-cultural disruption and/or modernisation. The ‘foodways’ involved in the article’s case study are, thereby, not discrete and/or stable but, rather, volatile ones that have been variously shortcut, diverted and/or disrupted under external pressures of various degrees of magnitude and/or immediacy. The maintenance of the foodways involved has required adaptation, ingenuity and the investment of socio-cultural commitment over and above the simple inducement of commercial opportunity. The food product engendered by this dynamic system is therefore not purely a market commodity (as in a simplistic economic model) but rather a cultural one with distinct attributes and significance that crystallise the intersection of various spheres of human and environmental activity in a spatio-temporal context. In attempting to provide an analysis of Ambonese smoked tuna and its Galala–Hative Kecil precinct – and the context of the Ambonese circumstances that have delivered it – the article also reflects on the sustainability of the trade and the manner in which the dynamic development of the Ambonese population may overwhelm the adaptive potential of its entrepreneurs and patrons.