About the FiTI Standard
At the heart of the initiative is the FiTI Standard, an agreement on what information on fisheries should be published online by public authorities.
The FiTI Standard provides governments, the fishing industry (both large-scale and small-scale), and civil society with a comprehensive and credible way to achieve and maintain high levels of transparency on the management of the marine fisheries sector and the activities of fishers and fishing companies.
The FiTI Standard is the outcome of extensive discussions, spanning nearly two years, by members of the FiTI International Advisory Group, including representatives from governments, large-scale and small-scale fishing sector organisations, multinational and regional fisheries organisations and civil society groups working on fisheries and marine conservation.
The intention has been to produce a comprehensive Standard that covers all facets of the FiTI and provides clear direction to countries that want to be part of this initiative. Yet all those involved in this process appreciate that the FiTI will evolve further over time, and it will be the role of the FiTI International Board to review the FiTI Standard with the option of enhancing it.
The 12 Transparency Requirements
At the heart of the FiTI Standard are 12 transparency requirements which are applicable for all countries (for more Information please refer to section B.1 of the FiTI Standard):
- Public registry of national fisheries laws, regulations and official policy documents
- Summary of laws and decrees on fisheries tenure arrangements
- Publication of all foreign fishing access agreements
- Publication of existing national reports on the state of fish stocks
- Public online registry of authorised large-scale vessels, as well as information on their payments and recorded catches
- Information on the small-scale sector, including the numbers of fishers, their catches and financial transfers to the state
- Information on the post-harvest sector and fish trade
- Information on law enforcement efforts, including a description of efforts to ensure compliance by fishers and a record of offences in the sector
- Information on labour standards in the fisheries sector
- Information on government transfers and fisheries subsidies
- Information on official development assistance regarding public sector projects related to fisheries and marine conservation
- Information on the country’s status regarding beneficial ownership transparency
Some key characteristics
The FiTI Standard does not expect all countries to have complete data for every transparency requirement from the beginning. Instead, public authorities must disclose the information they have, and where important gaps exist, they must demonstrate improvements over time. As such, engaging with the FiTI is not intended to be a burdensome and costly research activity. It has been designed to ensure that any country can implement it, including those where resources for collating information are limited. In fact, the FiTI may be particularly beneficial in such contexts, as it should support national authorities in their efforts to organise and present information.
The FiTI emphasises the need for national authorities to develop and strengthen their own systems for collating and publishing information online in a complete and accessible manner. For this, the country’s National Multi-Stakeholder Group will produce annual FiTI Reports that provide an assessment on the accessibility and completeness of information in the public domain for all transparency requirements set forth in the FiTI Standard. Where information in the public domain needs to be improved, the FiTI Report will publish this, but only as an interim mechanism. The goal of the FiTI is to ensure national authorities establish credible and comprehensive systems for publishing information on the fisheries sector.
The FiTI Standard recognises that enhancing transparency on the fisheries sector must be achieved for all sectors, including both large-scale and small-scale fisheries, although the level of detail expected on each cannot be the same. Thus, information on large-scale fisheries is expected to be more detailed than it is for small-scale fisheries.
Overall, the FITI Standard is divided in two main parts: Part I is intended for countries, Part II outlines the provisions for the international governance of the initiative.