About transparency in fisheries

It is clear that transparency in the fisheries sector is expansive, and at the same time can be a quite diverse and potentially confusing subject. At the same time, transparency is still discussed in a fairly general way, leaving much open to debates on exactly what information ought to be made public, by whom and why. There are currently 3 major areas of transparency in the fisheries:

1. Management of fisheries by governments: The FiTI is currently the only global endeavour that seeks to increase the public availability and credibility of basic (aggregated) information on a country’s fisheries sector to stimulate public debates

2. Activities of fishing vessels: A number of initiatives, such as Global Fishing Watch, SkyTruth, are providing (near) real-time, technology-supported information on activities of fishing vessels to identify illicit behaviour

3. Seafood traceability: A large number of organisations and initiatives are increasing information to trace fish from their point of capture through the entire supply chain (“from sea to plate”) to strengthen consumer confidence.

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About the initiative

The FiTI is legally institutionalised as a not-for-profit association in Seychelles under Seychellois law.
No. The FiTI is a global multi-stakeholder partnership, given equal representation and voting powers to governments, business and civil society. In fact, the FiTI does not represent a single interest group or political point of view. Instead, the diversity of different stakeholders is a central feature of how the FiTI works, for national implementations as well as international governance.
Over the past two decades there has been an enormous growth in collective action for international development. This has been aided by the growing understanding that complex and interlinked global challenges, such as sustainable fisheries, cannot be tackled by unilateral actions alone, but rather through collaborative partnerships, involving multiple actors.

For this reason, the FiTI has been established as a collaborative effort among different stakeholders from governments, business and civil society. Their different interests, positions, experiences, and resources are fundamental to shape the immediate and long-term agenda for marine fisheries sustainability.

However, multi-stakeholder partnerships – such as the FiTI – do not have the authority and regulatory power of governments. Instead, their success is largely determined by whether the initiative is accepted by those directly targeted, closely related and other impacted parties. Our principles, mission and activities are important. Also, broad stakeholder representation, inclusiveness, transparency and accountability are critical in building trust and gaining legitimacy.
Implementation is funded by the countries themselves. The way it is funded differs from country to country. In many cases, financial support is provided by international development agencies and non-governmental partners.

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About the FiTI Standard

Yes. The FiTI does not expect all countries to have complete data for every transparency requirement from the beginning. Instead, public authorities must disclose the information they have, and where important gaps exist, they must demonstrate improvements over time.

Where information has been collated by national authorities, but not yet published online, the FiTI Report can be used, but only as an interim mechanism.

However, the wilful use of misinformation and / or wilful withholding of information required for FiTI implementation is considered to constitute a fundamental breach of the FiTI's principles and requirements and a country may be delisted from the initiative for such a type of non-compliance.
There are two aspects that need to be considered:

First, according to the FiTI Standard section B.1.5, a country must provide an up-to-date registry of all nationally-flagged and foreign-flagged large-scale vessels authorised to fish in the country’s marine jurisdictional waters, and of all nationally-flagged large-scale vessels authorised to fish in third countries’ marine jurisdictional waters and on the High Seas. This is the first aspect that needs to be reviewed when considering whether an RFMO's vessel registry is sufficient, as nationally-flagged vessels operating outside of the RFMO's area may not be listed in this registry.

Second, for information to be considered accessible it must also be straightforward for anyone to find it (and not only fisheries experts). In this case, if the only way to locate the country's vessel registry is to go to the RFMO's website, then the information should be considered inaccessible, even though it might be easy by an expert audience. This does not mean that national authorities need to duplicate the information, but at least a clear link to the RFMO's website must be stated on the website of the national authority.

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