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Seychelles to host the international secretariat of the Fisheries Transparency Initiative as from next week | 29 May 2019

Seychelles to host the international secretariat of the Fisheries Transparency Initiative as from next week

Vice-President Meriton addressing the gathering at the launch ceremony

Seychelles will host the headquarters of the international secretariat of the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) as from next week.

The headquarters is currently based in Berlin, Germany.

A ceremony to launch the FiTI in Seychelles was held yesterday morning at State House in the presence of President Danny Faure, Vice-President Vincent Meriton, principal secretaries, representatives of FiTI, members of the diplomatic corps, and stakeholders within the fisheries sector.

FiTi is a prerequisite for informed public debates on fisheries policies and for achieving meaningful participation in fisheries decision-making thus making available important related information for sustainable socio, economic and environmental impacts.

All of this is done through credible and valuable information, publicly made available to the citizens.

The launch follows through on a commitment made by Vice-President Meriton, on behalf of the Seychelles government, at the ‘Our Oceans Conference’ held in Bali, Indonesia, from October 29 -30, 2018, to host the FiTI headquarters in Seychelles. It is also one of the first international transparency initiative headquarters to be located in the global South.

The FiTI headquarters to be based at the Blue Economy department, Oliaji Trade Centre, will be headed by German Sven Biermann, as director.

Faced with the complex challenge to ensure that fishing and fish trade contribute to income, employment, food and nutrition for millions of people, while also conserving marine biodiversity for future generations, coastal states and fishing nations widely shared understanding of the need to achieve sustainable and responsibly managed marine fisheries.

In launching the FiTI headquaters in Seychelles, Vice- President Meriton said that transiting to sustainable fisheries is and will be particularly challenging in the Indian Ocean as our Ocean is populated by numerous coastal states that differ greatly in terms of their socio-economic context, culture and aspirations.

“Tuna is an important common fisheries resource, shared among small-scale and industrial fishing fleets. The institutions we have erected to govern the exploitation of such resources require strengthening and support. FiTI will be an ideal tool in institutionalising and improving the dialogue and cooperation with all bona fide stakeholders,” Vice-President Meriton said.

He further said that FiTI is not only about contributing towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 14 but it is also about helping countries and their citizens to gain maximum benefits of their fishery resources thus will complement and support other national regional and global efforts for achieving responsible fisheries governance and thereby establishing a global playing field of transparency in fisheries.

Seychelles has already set up a multi-stakeholder group consisting of fishermen, industrial, artisanal, and sports fishermen, civil society, government and politicians and is also planning to extend the membership from 7 to 12 members so as to be more inclusive. The additional members include processors, representative from Praslin fishermen, the Transparency Initiative (Seychelles) and the youth.

“We are committed to empowering all stakeholders in the fisheries industry to participate in its development and to hold the authority and decision makers accountable. Transparency will help to combat corruption, inefficiency and wastage. It will assist governments in being more proactive and take decisions based on real and verifiable information rather than on emotions,” Vice-President Meriton said, noting that it is only normal that our citizens know what fisheries agreements comprise, what are the vessels licensed, the catch, the fees paid and what is the revenue used for as information which is often lacking in many countries and also needs to be improved here.

Mr Biermann said that almost 25 years ago, the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries already stated that “states should …facilitate consultation and the effective participation of industry, fishworkers, environmental and other interested organisations…” But how can these stakeholders, that clearly have a stake in the fisheries sector, participate in a meaningful way if they do not know what the current situation in the sector is?

“If it is not transparent with whom the government has fishing access agreements, how much money is made from fishing licences, how much fish is taken out of the water, what is the contribution of the artisanal sector, not only in economic but also in social terms, etc.

“And this is where the Fisheries Transparency Initiative comes in. Because it defines for the first-time what kind of information needs to be published in the public domain by governments so that meaningful participation, better decision-making as well as effective oversight and accountability can be pursued,” Mr Biermann said.

Seychelles became one of the first countries to endorse FiTI at the First International Conference on the Fisheries Transparency Initiative held in Nouakchott, Mauritania, on February 3, 2016.

 

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