BEIRUT/VICTORIA – 28 May 2021. The Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) and the Lebanon-based non-governmental organization Diaries of the Ocean (DotO) announced today their partnership to enhance the public availability, credibility and comprehensibility of fisheries management information in the Middle Eastern coastal state.
Originating as a Facebook page in 2017 for marine biologists to express their passion for Lebanon’s marine life, DotO has since grown into a dedicated women-led team of scientists, activists, entrepreneurs and artists who educate, advocate for and raise awareness around the conservation of marine life in Lebanon. In 2018, DotO was registered as an official NGO under Lebanese law, Decree #1875.
With a 225km coastline bordering the Mediterranean Sea, fisheries have historically played an important role in the economic, social and cultural fabric of Lebanon. However, overfishing, pollution and ongoing political instability are putting pressure on the sustainability of the country’s fish stocks.
Through this new partnership, the FiTI International Secretariat will support Doto in a range of collaborative activities in Lebanon to promote understanding of the importance of transparency for sustainable fisheries management among key local stakeholders from government, the business sector and civil society.
Will May, FiTI’s Regional Coordinator for the Western Indian Ocean and the FiTI’s focal point for this partnership, stated that “FiTI is delighted to be joining forces with DotO to advance the cause of transparency in fisheries management in Lebanon. Fisheries in Lebanon is primarily conducted by artisanal fishers, with around with 2,000 vessels operating along the coast. Ensuring that decisions about the Lebanese fisheries sector are based on informed and inclusive public debates is crucial. The FiTI can therefore make a real difference in the country.”
According to Jina Talj, Executive Director of DotO, “The fisheries sector in Lebanon is one of the oldest, yet most vulnerable sectors in the country. We believe that the FiTI Standard will help us ensure transparency and sound management in the sector, benefiting both the fishermen and the natural resources which we strive to protect. The participatory approach of the FiTI multi-stakeholder groups will help our society to agree on important issues concerning the development of the sector in light of the emerging offshore extractive industry.”
The overall nature of this collaboration is a long-term partnership, where both parties – FiTI and DotO – work formally independently, but in close coordination to advance jointly the overall objective, targets and activities. Each party would contribute their own resources. An ambitious timeline has been set in which FITI and DoTo will seek to obtain a public commitment from the Lebanese government to implement the FiTI by June 2022.
The collaboration was approved by the FiTI International Board during its 12th meeting on 15 April 2021.