The Federation of Artisanal Fishers of the Indian Ocean (FPAOI) has called on Mauritius and Comoros to commit to the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI), joining a growing movement towards transparent fisheries management in the Western Indian Ocean region.
In a position paper published by its Executive Committee on 30 March, the FPAOI acknowledged the importance of transparency for sustainable fisheries management and highlighted the various benefits of increasing public availability of credible information for small-scale fishing communities.
Among others, these benefits include more accurate data on the economic, food security and nutrition contributions of small-scale fisheries and greater visibility and therefore increased prominence in national debates on fisheries management.
The FPAOI further urged the governments of Mauritius and Comoros to follow the leadership of Seychelles, which has been a FiTI Candidate Country since April 2020, and Madagascar, which committed to the FITI in September 2021.
The publication of the position paper follows an FPAOI workshop held in Seychelles from 6-11 March 2022 to celebrate the International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture (IYAFA), during which discussions clearly acknowledged the role of transparency for enhancing the value and appreciation of small-scale fisheries.
“I think it is crucial that the governments of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) recognise the importance of an initiative such as the FiTI,” said Keith Andre, President of the FPAOI. “FiTI will not only bring to light information about their fisheries but also, in promoting transparency, governments will gain the confidence of all their stakeholders, especially small-scale operators who often operate in isolation, mainly due to mistrust and lack of information. The FiTI is a tool for fisheries managers to bring all stakeholders to the discussion table and work together,” he added.
Will May, FiTI’s Regional Coordinator for the Western Indian Ocean noted that “the FiTI International Secretariat has already held engaging discussions with the governments of Mauritius and Comoros since 2021 in terms of joining the FITI. We are ready to provide any country looking to increase transparency in its marine fisheries sector with the necessary support and technical guidance to begin the implementation process, which starts with a public commitment.”