Launch of new ‘TAKING STOCK – Online Transparency of Fisheries Management Information’ assessments in Latin America

The FiTI has announced that it will support fisheries authorities in Mexico, Ecuador and Peru in their transparency efforts by conducting a comprehensive baseline assessment of the level of public information available on their marine fisheries sectors.

Since January 2020, the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) has been making significant efforts to promote transparency in fisheries management in the Latin American region. The sector is of vital importance for the region; Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru are among the 25 largest fishing nations in the world, and an estimated 2.5 million people in the region are engaged in the sector.

In collaboration with its local partner organisations, the FiTI is currently carrying out numerous activities in the region to engage countries and their stakeholders in the FiTI, but also to ensure that there is an enabling environment that demands, understands, utilises and incentivises the online publication of fisheries management information.

With the launch of its new programme TAKING STOCK – Online Transparency of Fisheries Management Information the FiTI is further supporting countries with a comprehensive assessment of the level of fisheries management information that is already published online, and where areas for improvement exist. The result will also establish a credible benchmark to demonstrate improvements over time.

Although this assessment will be conducted worldwide, Latin America has been selected as the launch region. Over the next four months these assessments will be carried out in collaboration with the FiTI’s local partner organisations: Causa Natura in Mexico, Conservation International in Ecuador, and WWF in Peru.

Martin Zapata, FiTI’s Regional Coordinator for Latin America, expressed his satisfaction with the start of this new programme, noting that ‘Latin America is a hospitable region for transparency and multi-stakeholder participation, having taken important steps towards greater transparency in public management and in specific sectors, such as the extractive industries. However, the fisheries sector has so far been neglected. The interest shown in the FiTI by several Latin American governments and the launch of these assessments marks an important milestone that will determine a credible benchmark for these countries, and contribute to the definition of a regional agenda for transparency in the fisheries sector’.

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.

These transparency elements are assessed against a number of qualitative disclosure criteria, including whether information is freely available online and meets basic requirements. The assessment results will be summarized in a visualised report, which will be accessible to the wider public. National authorities will have the option to comment on initial findings prior to the publication of the results.

With these assessments, stakeholders will be able to obtain a general understanding of what information is available online and what is missing. This is a necessary first step of a transformative journey towards enhancing the availability and comprehensibility of fisheries management information and thereby creating the basis for more informed public debates.

It is currently expected that all three country reports will be launched in July 2021.

These assessment reports are funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.