Senegal must finalise the mandatory sign-up steps of the FiTI Standard or face delisting from the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI)

Senegal must finalise the mandatory sign-up steps of the FiTI Standard or face delisting from the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI)

5 July 2024. During its 25th meeting, the FiTI International Board – the global oversight body of the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) – reviewed the lack of implementation progress in Senegal and issued a final request to the country’s national authorities to avoid delisting from the FiTI.

Senegal initiated the process of joining the FiTI eight years ago, following the public commitment of former President Macky Sall during the first FiTI International Conference in Mauritania. Since then, Senegal has been listed as one of the current countries committed to the FiTI. However, after its initial commitment in 2016, the country has made no progress in finalising the mandatory sign-up steps, despite significant endeavours from the FiTI International Secretariat, its partners, and other national and international stakeholders (including the Open Government Partnership (OGP), of which the country is a member).

FiTI’s International Secretariat and International Board have been monitoring this situation carefully but critically over the last eight years, in an attempt to nurture positive signs of progress towards fisheries transparency (such as the inclusion of the FiTI in the country’s first and second National Action Plans (NAP) of the OGP).

In April 2024, Mr Bassirou Diomaye Faye was sworn in as Senegal’s new president. President Faye emphasised the need for transparency during his campaign by signing the ‘Charter for Sustainable Fishing’ as part of his election promises. The Charter was established by the ‘Coalition nationale pour une pêche durable’ (CONAPED), which brings together the country’s largest artisanal and industrial fishing stakeholders, and includes a clear commitment to implement the FiTI in Senegal.

In May 2024, the newly appointed Minister for Fisheries, Maritime and Port Infrastructures (MPIMP), Dr Fatou Diouf, published the long-awaited list of vessels authorised to fish in waters under Senegalese jurisdiction. This has been applauded by many stakeholders, including the FiTI, as a ‘decisive action, demonstrating the new administration’s commitment to transparency and sustainability of marine resources.’

Nevertheless, so far the government of Senegal has made little progress on the implementation process of the FiTI under the new administration. The government has yet to officially appoint the FiTI Lead Ministry, a FiTI National Lead, or start the process of establishing the country’s FiTI National Multi-Stakeholder Group.

The FiTI must safeguard the integrity of the process established in its Standard to ensure that all FiTI implementing countries are given equal treatment. Thus, the FiTI International Board has decided to offer the current government the opportunity to complete the sign-up steps, but at the same time establish a final and definitive implementation pathway and deadlines for Senegal to remain within the Fisheries Transparency Initiative.

Based on the Board’s decision reached during its 25th meeting on the 2nd of July 2024 [BM-25_2024_D-04], the government of Senegal must:

  • appoint the FiTI Lead Ministry and a FiTI National Lead and communicate this decision in writing to the FiTI Chair by 31 July 2024, and
  • submit its completed Candidate Country application in writing (including all supporting documents) to the FiTI Chair by 31 December 2024.

Dr Valeria Merino, Chair of the FiTI International Board expresses that “Senegal’s fisheries sector has outstanding importance to the country’s citizens and West Africa, and thus a transparent and sustainable management of the sector needs to be ensured. The new administration has shown promising signs towards fisheries transparency, but not about the FiTI process. At the same time, the FiTI needs to ensure fairness among all implementing countries, which are making important efforts to enhance the public accessibility and credibility of fisheries information. Our Board is hopeful that the new authorities will see this invitation to complete the FiTI process, within the given deadlines, as an opportunity to make tangible and rapid progress to establish an environment that enables the transparent management and governance of Senegal’s fisheries sector”.

In a letter notifying MPIMP of the International Board’s decision, the FiTI ensured Minister Diouf of its full commitment to collaborate with governmental and non-governmental stakeholders in Senegal to implement the necessary operational steps ahead.