Madagascar joins FiTI!
30 September 2021 – In another milestone for global transparency efforts in marine fisheries management, the government of Madagascar has declared its public commitment to join the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI). The country’s commitment was conveyed via an official letter sent by Paubert Mahatante, Madagascar’s Minister for Fisheries and Blue Economy, to Dr Valeria Merino, Chair of the FiTI International Board.
“As part of a growth in fisheries transparency and participation for a more sustainable management of marine fisheries in Madagascar, the Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy wishes to express its commitment to joining this great initiative,” wrote Minister Mahatante in his letter.
Madagascar becomes the fifth country to join the FiTI, after Mauritania, Senegal, Seychelles, and Cabo Verde.
The FiTI International Secretariat, supported by Blue Ventures (FiTI’s national collaboration partner) as well as other partner organisations, had been in contact with the Malagasy authorities and non-governmental stakeholders since late 2020. The country’s decision to join the FiTI was duly approved by the Cabinet of Ministers this month.
In an announcement shared on its official Facebook page, the Ministry for Fisheries and Blue Economy stated that the decision represents “a major step towards the preservation, management and development of sustainable fisheries for future generations. Joining the FiTI will allow us to improve delivery of public services, enhance transparency for responsible fishing and promote collaboration between all stakeholders in the fisheries and blue economy sector.”
Marine fisheries represent the lifeblood of the economy of Madagascar, a country with the longest coastline in Africa (4,828km). According to the World Bank, Madagascan fisheries have an annual production capacity of $750 million – equivalent to more than 7% of national GDP – and contribute 6.6% to total exports. Fish also play a crucial role in providing food security and nutrition to Malagasy communities, representing roughly 20% of animal protein intake.
Will May, FiTI’s Regional Coordinator for the Western Indian Ocean, commended the Malagasy government on its commitment, stating: “It is clear that national authorities already understand the importance of an inclusive, participatory approach to fisheries management, evident through the frequent mention of transparency in national strategy documents such as La Stratégie Nationale de Bonne Gouvernance de la Pêche de Madagascar and La Stratégie Nationale de Gestion de la Pêche Thonière. We are sincerely looking forward to engaging with all government and non-governmental partners in Madagascar on this transformative journey.”
This public commitment represents a crucial first step towards further enhancing the availability of credible, accurate and timely fisheries management information relevant for Madagascar. Making fisheries management more transparent and inclusive can positively influence the capacity to manage fisheries efficiently and sustainably, as well as the ability for effective oversight, accountability and public dialogue.
Under the technical guidance of the FiTI International Secretariat, Madagascar will now work towards fulfilling the initial sign-up steps required for it to submit its official Candidate application to the FiTI International Board.
It is emphasised that such a public commitment demonstrates a sincere intention of a country’s government to increase transparency in fisheries management through the FiTI. However, the commitment should not be misinterpreted as official acceptance into the initiative. Only when such a commitment is followed by concrete implementation activities (such as the establishment of a FiTI National Multi-Stakeholder Group or the agreement on the country’s first FiTI workplan) and the subsequent approval of the country’s Candidate Application by the FiTI International Board will Madagascar be formally recognised as an FiTI implementing country.