About transparency in 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.
About the initiative
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.
About the FiTI Standard
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.
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.