Fisheries management - Stakeholders seek to boost transparency, availability of information to public


30-June-2017

Technical local and regional fisheries administrators, managers, representatives of the local  fishermen’s association, the African Development Bank (AfDB), the civil society and the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) held a two-day discussion and information sharing workshop here to strengthen their understanding of fisheries administration to boost transparency and subsequently make available more information on the sector to the public.

With increasing interest in the fisheries sector, basic information still often remains out of the public domain. Such information includes the status of fish stocks and marine ecosystems, conditions attached to fishing authorisations/licences, the contracts of fishing access agreements signed between fishing nations and coastal states, revenues collected and the amount of fish taken from the ocean.

But without such information, the quality and credibility of decision-making can be undermined, while the prospect of effective oversight and accountability diminishes.

While there are many aspects to achieve sustainable fisheries, making available to the public reliable and credible information and data relating to the fisheries sector in a transparent manner is essential but remains a big challenge.

The need for more transparency and increasing participation is central to major fisheries reform efforts.

Thus the raison d’être of the FiTI. It is a global multi-stakeholder initiative that has been developed with the aim of complementing and supporting other national, regional and global efforts to achieve responsible fisheries governance. It focuses on increasing transparency and a wider participation in fisheries governance for a more sustainable management of the fisheries sector.

Over the two days those taking part in the workshop discussed the benefits, challenges, opportunities to increase transparency, information sharing and participation in fisheries management in the region. They will also have a better understanding of the FiTI standards and how it is applied and the benefits it can bring to countries in the Western Indian Ocean region.

The workshop was organised by the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) in collaboration with the AfDB, the Indian Ocean Commission and the FiTI itself. 

The discussions were led by Jean-Louis Kromer, chief natural resources management officer from the AfDB Group and Sven Biermann, the director of the FiTI international secretariat, alongside other experts from FiTI.

There were also presentations by different key technicians from the local fisheries sector.

The Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture Michael Benstrong launched the working and discussion session on Tuesday at the Eden Bleu Hotel in the presence of key officials from the same ministry as well as the British high commissioner Caron Röhsler, among other guests.

Addressing the gathering, Minister Benstrong noted that since taking office President Danny Faure has been stressing on the need for transparency, accountability and good governance in all sectors of economic activities in all government as well as in the private sector and that the fisheries domain is no exception.

“At a time when we are seeing much interest and questions asked by civil society, politicians and the   public on the status and management of our fisheries resources, especially through debates or queries on social media, as custodians of the fisheries sector we have an obligation to keep people informed,” Minister Benstrong pointed out.

He said Seychelles has recently reinforced its commitment in support of the FiTI’s initiatives following its participation in the 1st FiTI international conference in Nouackchott, Mauritania in February last year, the 2nd conference in Bali, Indonesia in April this year during which Seychelles offered to host the FiTI international secretariat, as well as the most recent presentation made before the Cabinet of Ministers’ meeting in April this year by Professor Dr Peter Eigen, founder and chairperson of the advisory council of Transparency International.

Furthermore Minister Benstrong gladly noted that Seychelles has already adhered to the global FiTI Standard which is an agreement on what information on fisheries should be published online by public authorities in a complete and accessible manner.

“Seychelles’ most important fisheries agreement which is the one signed with the European Union is publicly available and disclosure requirements will become the norm for other fishing agreements,” Minister Benstrong stated.

 

 

 

 

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