TAKING STOCK – Online Transparency of Fisheries Management Information

Public access to information on how the fisheries sector is being managed is fundamental for good governance. Transparency is a prerequisite for informed public debates on fisheries policies and for meaningful participation in decision-making. Furthermore, private fishing companies, local fishing communities, investors, retailers and partner countries engaged in fishing agreements stand to benefit from increased transparency. Promoting these positive features of fisheries lies at the heart of the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI).

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 in 2020: ‘TAKING STOCK – Online Transparency of Fisheries Management Information’.

  • The assessment analysis whether national (federal) information is published online by national authorities on their own websites.
  • What is assessed? Based on 12 thematic areas, as set out in the FiTI Standard, the assessment covers 35 transparency elements regarding a country’s marine capture fishery, ranging from the publication of national laws, fisheries management plans, vessel registries, trade information, fisheries subsidies to beneficial ownership.
  • How is it assessed? Transparency elements are assessed against a number of qualitative disclosure criteria, including whether information is freely available online and meets basic requirements.
  • Furthermore, ‘good transparency practices’ are collated that recognise whether the published information allows non-experts to draw reliable conclusions from it.
  • The assessment results will be summarized in a non-confrontative, non-nummerical way report, which will be accessible to the wider public (in the country’s main language).
  • The assessment is conducted solely as a desktop study. National authorities will have the option to comment on initial findings prior to the publication of the results.

These assessment will provide public authorities and interested stakeholders with a a general understanding of what information is already available and accessible in the public domain and where enhancement opportunity exists. The result will also provide a credible benchmark to demonstrate improvements over time.

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