Comoros joins FiTI!

Comoros joins FiTI!

The Union of the Comoros has committed to implement the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI)! Comoros Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Environment, Tourism, and Handicrafts H.E. Houmed M’Saidie conveyed this commitment via an official letter to Dr. Valeria Merino, Chair of the FiTI International Board.

This public commitment represents a crucial first step towards enhancing the availability of credible, accurate and timely fisheries management information for Comoros. Increasing transparency and inclusivity in fisheries management can significantly boost a nation’s capacity to manage fisheries efficiently and sustainably, as well as improve oversight, accountability, and public dialogue.

“The Government of the Union of the Comoros, led by ES AZALI Assoumani, has ensured that the fisheries sector is leveraged for the country’s economic and social development. To that end, we are firmly convinced that optimal exploitation of fisheries resources for economic growth cannot be achieved without transparency and the participation of various stakeholders,” wrote the Minister.

Comoros’ ocean economy is integral to its national development; with an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) approximately 100 times larger than its land area, the fisheries sector has immense potential to drive growth and sustainability. The sector’s catch is mainly composed of tuna and tuna-like species, with an annual catch estimated at 33,000 metric tons1.

Comoros’ commitment to implement the FiTI is expected to bring multiple benefits, including enabling better management of marine resources, promoting sustainable fishing practices, and enhancing the livelihoods of local communities dependent on fisheries. Moreover, making information such as vessel registries and catch statistics publicly available can contribute to the country’s aim of combating illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which poses a significant threat to marine ecosystems and the economies that rely on them.

Yannick Memee, FiTI’s Regional Coordinator for the Western Indian Ocean, praised the Comorian government for its dedication: “This is a positive step for the country. This commitment clearly signals that the government recognises the importance of an inclusive, participatory approach to fisheries management. We eagerly anticipate collaborating with both government and non-governmental partners in Comoros as they work to enhance public access to fisheries management information.”

Comoros is now the third country in the Western Indian Ocean region to commit to enhancing fisheries transparency through the FiTI, following Seychelles and Madagascar. The FiTI International Secretariat has engaged with Comorian authorities & stakeholders, including the Direction Générale des Resources Halieutiques (DGRH) and the Federation of Artisanal Fishers of the Indian Ocean (FPAOI), since late 2021. Minister M’Saidie approved the country’s decision to join FiTI in June 2024.

The path towards sustainable fisheries management is challenging but essential, and Comoros’ dedication to transparency and inclusivity is a beacon of progress in this vital endeavour. As Comoros begins its efforts, it adds to the growing demand for transparent fisheries management, setting a precedent for other nations in the region and beyond.

Under the technical guidance of the FiTI International Secretariat, Comoros will now work to prepare and submit its official Candidate application to the FiTI International Board. This process involves, inter alia, appointing the FiTI Lead Ministry within the government of Comoros as well as establishing a FiTI National Multi-Stakeholder Group.

The FiTI International Secretariat will continue providing technical guidance to Comoros to ensure that the country’s candidate application to the FiTI can be completed in due time.

Bienvenu Comoros!

  1. Breuil, Christophe. Grima, Damien. 2014. Baseline Report Comoros. SmartFish Programme of the Indian Ocean Commission, Fisheries Management FAO component, Ebene, Mauritius. 27 pp. ↩︎