Public access to information is a prerequisite to manage fisheries efficiently and sustainably, as well as the ability for effective oversight, accountability and public dialogue.
Yet, transparency is still often wrongly perceived as a voluntary act. Instead, the provision of accessible, timely and credible information on a country’s marine fisheries is increasingly becoming a legal requirement for governments, stemming, among other things, from Freedom of Information laws. Such laws are frequently based on three key principles: public participation, access to justice and access to information. The last of these principles implies that the public should be able to obtain environmental information (including information about their country’s fisheries sector) with only limited, explicitly defined exceptions arising from confidentiality claims and security matters.
The importance of public access to government information is also emphasised in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Target 16.10 of the SDGs calls on all states to adopt legislation or policies guaranteeing the right to information, which is essential not only for the achievement of Goal 16, but is an enabler to achieving other SDGs.
Getting started with enhancing transparency in marine fisheries management requires that all stakeholders have a general understanding of what information is already in the public domain and what is missing.
In supporting countries to start a transformative journey in enhancing the availability and comprehensibility of fisheries management information, the FiTI has launched a new programme: ‘TAKING STOCK – Online Transparency of Fisheries Management Information’.
TAKING STOCK: Online Transparency of Fisheries Management Information assesses the level of information that national authorities publish on government websites regarding the country’s marine fisheries sector.
Objectives of the TAKING STOCK programme
- Providing a useful baseline for countries that are beginning the process of increasing transparency in fisheries management. Getting started with the FiTI requires all stakeholders to have a general understanding of what information is already in the public domain and what is missing. The results of the TAKING STOCK assessment will also provide a credible benchmark to demonstrate improvements over time. Furthermore, the results will also help significantly with the preparation of the country’s first FiTI Report, once the country has been granted its official FiTI Candidate country status.
- Sparking interest among stakeholders from countries hesitant to enhance transparency. Conducting the TAKING STOCK assessment will demonstrate strengths as well as improvement opportunities in the levels of fisheries management information available online. This serves as an entry point for debates with national and international stakeholders regarding the need for greater transparency in the management of the sector.
- Contributing to global debates and building a knowledge pool of transparency in fisheries management. As they will be conducted in many countries, including those that may not yet be ready or willing to implement the FiTI, these TAKING STOCK assessments will gradually yield a global picture of transparency levels in the fisheries sectors of governments across the world. Currently, few empirical studies exist on levels of transparency in fisheries, with much analysis relying on anecdotal information. Furthermore, the assessments will promote aspects of open government and open data.
- TAKING STOCK: FiTI initiates its online transparency assessment of fisheries management information for the United StatesThe Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) announced today the start of its assessment of publicly available marine fisheries information in the United States of America, as part of its global efforts to deepen public understanding of how different governments around the world approach transparency in fisheries management.
- Latin America’s first TAKING STOCK assessment: Government transparency in the marine fisheries of PeruLima, 27 April 2022. Today, the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) launched the findings of its first TAKING STOCK assessment for the Latin American region, evaluating public access to marine fisheries management information in Peru. Conducted in collaboration with WWF Peru, the assessment examines the level of information that Peru’s national authorities publish on government websites against the transparency requirements of the FiTI Standard – the only internationally recognised framework defining what fisheries management information should […]
- Without transparency, there cannot be sustainable fishingBy Valeria Merino. Everyone is talking about sustainability in fisheries. Many worried, with good reason, that in our lifetime we might lose most marine fisheries. Most importantly, we must prevent the collapse of the marine ecosystem with its devastating effects on the planet and our own survival as species. As Peter Thomson, the United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the Ocean, repeatedly emphasizes: ‘You can’t have a healthy planet without a healthy ocean.’ We must […]
- TAKING STOCK: FiTI initiates online transparency assessment of fisheries management information for MauritiusThe Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) announced today the start of its transparency assessment of publicly available marine fisheries information in Mauritius, with the goal of strengthening national and regional understanding and appreciation of the sector’s contributions.
- Launch of world’s first TAKING STOCK assessment: Government transparency in marine fisheries of Bangladesh30 March 2022. Today, the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) has launched the findings of its inaugural TAKING STOCK assessment, which focuses on Bangladesh and stands as the first in a series of national studies of government transparency in global marine fisheries set to be published over the coming years.
- TAKING STOCK: FiTI initiates online transparency assessment of fisheries management information for São Tomé and Príncipe01 February 2022. Following the country’s public commitment to join the FiTI in early January 2022, the FiTI International Secretariat announced today the start of its TAKING STOCK assessment for São Tomé and Príncipe. This comprehensive review of the type of information that is published on national government websites will provide a credible benchmark to demonstrate improvements over time, and facilitate the upcoming steps to support the process of São Tomé and Príncipe’s accession to […]
- TAKING STOCK: FiTI initiates online transparency assessment of fisheries management information for Comoros6 October 2021. The Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) announced today the start of its TAKING STOCK assessment for Comoros. As part of wider efforts to promote transparency in fisheries management across the Western Indian Ocean region, over the coming months the FiTI will conduct a comprehensive review of the type of information on Comoros’ fisheries sector that is published on national government websites.
- FiTI initiates online transparency assessment of fisheries management information for BangladeshAs part of efforts to support the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock in Bangladesh with a solid understanding of the types of information published in the public domain (i.e. government websites) and where enhancement opportunities exist, the FiTI has started its ‘TAKING STOCK – Online Transparency of Fisheries Management Information’ assessment in Bangladesh.
- ‘TAKING STOCK – Online Transparency of Fisheries Management Information’ assessments in Latin AmericaThe FiTI has announced that it will support fisheries authorities in Mexico, Ecuador and Peru in their transparency efforts by conducting a comprehensive baseline assessment of the level of public information available on their marine fisheries sectors.