SwAM initiates study on economic benefits of government transparency in marine fisheries management

Gothenburg/Sweden. The Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management (SwAM) recently announced the start of a study that seeks to analyse market and non-market based benefits to incentivise governments to proactively publish information on marine fisheries management.

According to Ms. Ylva Mattsson, Senior Analyst of Fisheries Management at SwAM and lead coordinator for this study: ‘The global movement for transparency and open government data has been justified for many reasons. It is seen as fundamental to modern ideas of democratic governance, to improve public service delivery and citizen engagement. But most prominently, transparency is linked to enhance effective oversight and accountability. Yet, there is very little research or evidence available where market or non-market based benefits stimulate governments to proactively publish information on marine fisheries management. With this study, we seek to close this gap.’

Ms. Mattsson stated further that the study pursues three concrete objectives:

  • Improve the understanding of how incentives can and do influence governments to improve transparency on fisheries management
  • Identify real-world examples where the publication of government information on fisheries management – as determined by the FiTI Standard – led to improved government performance (e.g. enhanced revenue collection, reduced spending)
  • Analyse market-based mechanisms, i.e. seafood certifications, seafood production policies, as well as international trade agreements regarding the existence and potential for incentivising the proactive publication of fisheries management information by governments

The study will include a literature review on the influence of economic benefits towards government behaviour in fisheries, an analysis of existing market-based incentives for transparency in marine fisheries management, as well as two half-day online expert workshops in order to discuss and review the findings of the desktop research.

Mr. Sven Biermann, Executive Director of the FiTI International Secretariat stated: ‘We are sincerely excited about this much needed study. In times where many governments focus on COVID-19 economic recoveries, typical ‘good governance’ approaches alone may not emphasise the importance (and political priority) that needs to be given to transparency for strengthening sustainable marine fisheries. Consequently, we must position transparency in marine fisheries management as a value-adding approach for countries, in particular by clearly demonstrating socio-economic benefits. This must be done in addition to continuously emphasising the important role public information can play to enhance oversight and accountability. As part of our wider beneFiTIng programme, we are very much looking forward to collaborate with the SwAM on this study.’

For more information about this study, please contact Ms. Mattsson at ylva.mattsson@havochvatten.se

More information regarding SwAMs work in relation to development cooperation can be found here: www.havochvatten.se/swam-ocean.