TAKING STOCK: FiTI initiates online transparency assessment of fisheries management information for China

TAKING STOCK: FiTI initiates online transparency assessment of fisheries management information for China

The Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) has initiated today a TAKING STOCK assessment for China to strengthen global understanding of transparency in marine fisheries management.

As the thirteenth country to undergo such an assessment, China will benefit from a complete review of publicly available information regarding the country’s marine fisheries sector based on the 12 thematic areas of the FiTI Standard – the only internationally-recognised framework guiding what information governments should publish online regarding fisheries management. A total of 39 transparency elements are covered under the FiTI Standard – ranging from the publication of national laws, fisheries management plans, and vessel registries, to trade information, fisheries subsidies, and beneficial ownership. 

The fisheries sector in China is of utmost importance, serving as a critical resource for millions of people. It fulfils economic, food & nutrition, and employment needs all at once. China was listed as the largest marine capture fishery producer in 2020 by the UN-FAO, with a catch of close to 12 million tonnes (live weight). However, like many other countries, China faces the challenge of ensuring that fishing and fish trade benefit its people while preserving marine biodiversity for future generations. Additionally, with the largest fleet of distant water fishing vessels in the world, China’s role in the sustainability of fishing is a matter of international importance.

Achieving sustainable fisheries involves multiple aspects, and one crucial factor is the accessibility of information to the public. With the launch of its Five-Year Plan for Fishery Development, the national authorities of China have laid out key measures to reduce fishing efforts and nurture the well-being of its ocean resources, rendering public access to information on the management of the sector even more vital to ensure national awareness and foster a participatory approach to its sustainable management at the community level.

This TAKING STOCK assessment will help the Chinese government to strengthen awareness of its marine and coastal capture fisheries. It will provide an overview of the information that has been published on key aspects highly relevant to sustainable development. Furthermore, it aims to generate interest among various stakeholders who play a pivotal role in fisheries management.

Sven Biermann, FiTI’s Executive Director, emphasized the significance of enhancing marine fisheries management through accessible information. He stated, “It is crucial for all stakeholders to have a clear understanding of the information already available to the public and what is still missing. This assessment will help determine if relevant information is publicly accessible, up-to-date, easily found, and reusable by various stakeholders. It will provide the national authorities in China with a valuable reference point to identify areas of success and areas for further improvements.”

The results of this TAKING STOCK assessment will be published in the first quarter of 2024.

The TAKING STOCK assessment for China is funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.