Seychelles becomes first country to submit Fisheries Transparency Initiative report
The island nation of the Seychelles has become the first country in the world to issue a report as part of the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI), last week.
The FiTI is a global standard for establishing sustainable fisheries management through transparency and multi-stakeholder participation. The Seychelles was one of the first two candidate countries for the transparency standard, and is now the first country to submit a full report.
Seychelles FiTI National Multi-Stakeholder Group Chair Philippe Michaud said the report is a first of its kind for the nation, and the world.
“In addition to the administrative challenges that this pandemic brought upon all of us, including the restrictions of face-to-face meetings between stakeholders from government, business, and civil society, it was the first time that the national authorities are assessed against the FiTI standard, indicating which information on fisheries should be published by the government of Seychelles,” he said.
In the report, Seychelles committed to go above and beyond the initial standard requirements by conducting the assessment against the full set of 12 transparency requirements, instead of the minimum six requirements.
“This ambitious exercise is a clear testament to the importance Seychelles places on transparent marine fisheries,” he said.
The increased transparency will establish more democratic participation in the Seychelles' fisheries, Michaud said.
The first FiTI Report process also highlighted challenges for the country, such as the availability of information. Michaud said the country will respond by aiming to improving transparency, without compromising sensitive commercial interests.
Seychelles has a land mass of just 455 square kilometers, but is a major player in the global tuna industry – with an exclusive economic zone of 1.37 million square kilometers. Tuna fishing represents a significant portion of the nation’s economy, and the success of the industry is important for the nation's survival and growth, Michaud said.
“This report is therefore clearly not designed for the fisheries experts within government, industry, and civil society. Instead, it is meant for the people of Seychelles,” he said. “We all need to assume ownership of our common resource. I dare to hope that a transparent fisheries sector, backed by a smooth data sharing process and regular informed public debates, is within the grasp of Seychelles.”
Photo courtesy of the Fisheries Transparency Initiative