FiTI has a role to support development of the blue economy |17 July 2021
Ensuring sustainable use of marine and coastal resources, ecosystem service accounting service are some of the blue economy principles that the Fisheries Transparency Initiative, can play an important role to support.
The Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI), is global multi-stakeholder initiative, which increases transparency and participation for a more sustainable management of marine fisheries. Through its global standard, the FiTI defines for the first-time what information on fisheries management should be published online by governments.
The FiTI is implemented in each of its member countries via what is known as a FiTI National Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG). This group consists of representatives from government, business and organised civil society organisations.
In Seychelles, this is no different, and our country’s National MSG consists of 12 members, equally representing the above three groups. It is presently chaired by myself Philippe Michaud, and my colleagues and I have been meeting on a regular basis – despite the disruptive effects of Covid-19 – to reach collective decisions on how the FiTI should be implemented in Seychelles. The FiTI is identified as complimentary to the government’s work on advancing a sustainable blue economy.
It is interesting to note that our national MSG has a representative from both the ruling party and the opposition. The business sector is made up of representatives from the industrial and artisanal fisheries, as well as fish processers, while civil society is represented by members of various associations and NGOs such as the Seychelles Sports Fishing Club and Transparency Initiative Seychelles.
In order to increase transparency and participation in decision-making, each member (except myself) has an alternate, who is welcome to observe meetings and substitutes for the member in case of their absence.
As part of a country implementing the FiTI, it must conduct a thorough assessment of the levels of transparency in its fisheries sector (across 12 major areas e.g. the state of fisheries resources, beneficial ownership and foreign fishing access agreements). The results of this are compiled into a comprehensive report (i.e. a FiTI Report), which provides a crucial overview of the country’s fisheries sector and evaluates its compliance against the requirements of the FiTI.
Seychelles made history on April 16 this year when we launched our first FiTI report, becoming the first country in the world to do so.
I am proud to say that the national MSG was very much involved in the preparation of this first report which covers information relevant for the calendar year 2019. We collectively approved the accuracy of its contents and issued a total of 34 recommendations on how the government can further strengthen the country’s leadership in fisheries transparency. These range from creating an online vessel registry to publishing the results of recent stock assessments of fish in our waters. With Seychelles’ second FiTI Report (covering information from 2020) due by the end of this year, behind-the-scenes work to implement these recommendations is well underway.
The national MSG is also planning a ‘Tour des Seychelles’, where members will visit various stakeholder groups to explain the contents of the first FiTI Report and ensure the importance of transparency for sustainable fisheries is understood by all. Marine resources belong to everyone and we all need to assume ownership of this common public asset.
This idea is reflected in the views of the national MSG, as stated in our country’s first FiTI Report:
“We, the FiTI National Multi-Stakeholder Group of Seychelles, seek to stimulate informed public debate on how the fisheries sector is managed in Seychelles. We therefore encourage all bona fide stakeholderswho appreciate the enormous value and importance of marine fisheries in our country – the citizens of Seychelles, civil society organisation, media, academia and our national and international business and development partners – to engage in an active dialogue based on this report”.
The movement towards increasing access to and understanding of fisheries information is in line with the statement made by the Minister for Fisheries and the Blue Economy, Jean-Francois Ferrari, during his address at the launch of the FiTI Report: “The government of Seychelles has a clear vision to make Seychelles’ fisheries the most transparent in the world. We have nothing to hide. We have everything to share.”
By Mr Philippe Michaud, chair of the Seychelles FiTI National Multi-Stakeholder Group