Accessible: For information to be accessible it must be freely available, published online by national authorities and is easy to find. For information to be accessible, it should also be judged whether it is comprehensible. While ultimately subjective, the FiTI Report should highlight where information published by authorities is ambiguous, or complex, meaning non-expert members of the public are unlikely to understand it. Information is not accessible if it is only available in hard copy, or if access to an online source is restricted on condition of payment or justification by the person requesting the information. Furthermore, information is not accessible if it is released in proprietary format.

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Best available: Some of the transparency requirements of the FiTI Standard include information that necessarily is based on estimates and can therefore be produced through different methods of data gathering. For example, information on stock assessments (B.1.4) will be based on sampling, extrapolation of data and the identification and control of variables in order to assess historical trends in stocks of fish. The inclusion of the concept “best available” information in the FiTI Standard is to address instances where information used by national authorities is clearly misleading. In such cases, the role of the National Multi-Stakeholder Group is to judge whether information used by the public authorities could be improved by considering alternative sources of information, which may include studies by non-governmental organisations, the private sector or
academic institutions.

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Candidate country: A country must implement six sign-up steps (in accordance with FiTI Standard section A) and submit a Candidate application to the FiTI International Board. If the application is approved, the country is considered a FiTI Candidate country.

Compliant country: A country is declared a FiTI Compliant country by the FiTI International Board, if the country’s independent assessment (i.e. validation) demonstrated certain performances regarding enabling environment for stakeholder participation, multi-stakeholder oversight and individual transparency requirements. This status is maintained if the country continues to adhere to the FiTI Standard throughout subsequent validations. Consequently, the status as a FiTI Compliant country can also be lost if the country fails to follow the FiTI Standard, including a failure to publish existing information for the transparency requirements or where there is evidence that multi-stakeholder participation is not being achieved effectively.

Complete: For information published by national authorities to be judged complete, there must be no reasonable evidence that it contains missing information. For example, a public registry of fishing vessels would not be considered complete if there was evidence that one or more authorised fishing vessels were not included in this registry. Also, information cannot be considered complete if it is missing for the reporting period.

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Enabling environment: A government of a country seeking to join the FiTI must ensure that there is an enabling environment for business and civil society participation with regard to relevant laws, regulations, and administrative rules as well as actual practice. This includes, inter alia, a sincere commitment to work with civil society and business on the implementation of the FiTI, as well as ensuring that the National Multi-Stakeholder Group can engage in public debates related to the FiTI, express their opinions about the FiTI without restraint, coercion or reprisal, and speak freely on fisheries governance issues.

Extension: A FiTI country can apply for an extension if it is unable to meet the required deadlines of FiTI implementation (i.e. publication of FiTI Report, Workplan, Impact Report, as well as undergoing validation) due to exceptional or unforeseen circumstances. Extension requests are assessed by the FiTI International Board against a number of criteria, as outlined in section C.1.2 of the FiTI Standard.

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FiTI Report: An annual report, produced by the country’s Multi-Stakeholder Group, that demonstrates whether the 12 transparency requirements of the FiTI have been fulfilled, i.e. if the information published by national authorities is accessible and complete, and represents the best available information. The FiTI Report also provides a succinct summary of information on the transparency requirements to contribute to public debates, and outlines recommendations on how to improve the publication of data in the public domain.

FiTI Standard: An internationally recognised framework that sets out requirements that countries must follow to be part of the FiTI. It defines for the first time what information on fisheries should be published online by public authorities! It also outlines clear procedures for countries seeking to join the FiTI and for the initiative’s international governance.

Foreign fishing access agreement: A contractual arrangement that is entered into between a coastal state and a foreign party that allows for fishing vessels to operate in the country’s marine jurisdictional waters (i.e. Territorial Sea and Exclusive Economic Zone). The FiTI Standard covers agreements that allow access for foreign vessels to fish in the country’s marine jurisdictional waters, as well as those that allow the coastal state’s flagged vessels to fish in a third country. Agreements can be signed between governments, between a coastal state and a union of foreign governments (such as the European Union), or between coastal states and private corporations, or associations of private companies.

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Hiatus: A temporary pause of an FiTI implementation, in case the country faces political instability, conflicts, or natural disasters. Hiatus requests are assessed by the FiTI International Board against a number of criteria, as outlined in section C.1.3 of the FiTI Standard.

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International Board: The global oversight body of the FiTI. Its main responsibilities are, inter alia, to assess assess candidate applications of countries; to evaluate the performance of countries against the FiTI Standard based on regular validations; to establish mechanisms to collect and address complaints, resolve disagreement, and sanction non-compliant countries; to oversee and guide the work of the FiTI International Secretariat; to enhance the FiTI Standard over time; and promote transparency and multi-stakeholder participation in fisheries governance. The Board is presided and represented by its Chair.

International Secretariat: The executive body of the FiTI. Its main responsibilities are, inter alia, to raise awareness and conduct communication activities among national, regional and global stakeholders; provide technical advice and training regarding the implementation of the FiTI Standard; monitor progressive improvements of countries; and provide support to the FiTI International Board. The Secretariat is led by the Executive Director.

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Jurisdictional waters: The maritime zones under national jurisdiction are the following: internal waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, exclusive economic zone (EEZ), and continental shelf. Beyond the maritime zones under national jurisdiction are the High Seas and the international seabed area.

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Multi-Stakeholder Group: A group made up of government, company, and civil society representatives that oversee the implementation of the FiTI in a country. The Multi-Stakeholder Group (short MSG) develops the country’s work plans, oversees the production of the FiTI Report and ensures that the FiTI contributes to public debate.

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National Lead: A senior government official from the country’s FiTI Lead Ministry, appointed to lead the implementation of the FiTI in the country. This official should have the confidence of all stakeholders, the authority and freedom to coordinate action on the FiTI implementation across relevant ministries and agencies, and be able to mobilise resources for the FiTI implementation.

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Probation: A temporary status of non-compliance that expresses that the country has breached one or more aspects of the FiTI Principles or the spirit of the initiative. The FiTI International Board sets a time limit of up to 12 months for the country to address the reasons for probation. During the period of probation, the country will carry the status “On probation”.

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Report Compiler: An external consultant who compiles the information on the 12 transparency requirements, on behalf of the country’s Multi-Stakeholder Group. Such a consultant must be perceived as independent, credible, trustworthy and technically competent. The National MSG must endorse the appointment of the Report Compiler.

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Suspension: A temporary status of non-compliance that expresses that one or more aspects of the FiTI requirements, particularly reporting deadlines and other technical requirements, are not adhered to by a country. The country will have up to 9 months to address the reasons for suspension. During the period of suspension, a country carries the status “Suspended”.

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Tenure Arrangement: How people gain access to land, fisheries, forests and other natural resources; in other words who can use which resources, for how long, and under what conditions. Fisheries tenure arrangements refers to the manner in which the relationships between people are defined and negotiated in the context of the utilization of fishery and related resources, i.e. tenure defines who is a user and, therefore, who has a legitimate right to a resource and who does not.

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Validation: An essential part of the safeguarding the FiTI by verifying compliance of all participating countries against the FiTI Standard. This covers the transparency aspect (i.e. FiTI Reports), procedural requirements, including the meaningful involvement of stakeholders, as well as the impact of the FiTI in the country. It also helps promote dialogue and learning at the country level.

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