22 February 2023. The FiTI International Board has recognised Seychelles’ efforts to implement the FiTI Standard with a score of ‘meaningful progress’ in the first validation of the Indian Ocean archipelago. In its final Compliance Statement, which was published today, the Board congratulated Seychelles for this achievement, which demonstrates that significant aspects of the validation requirements have been fulfilled.
Validations act as the FiTI’s quality assurance mechanism, safeguarding the integrity of the initiative by holding all FiTI implementing countries to the same global standard. A validation therefore offers a unique opportunity to conduct an objective and standardised verification of a country’s past performance (e.g. published FiTI Reports) as well as to identify lessons learned, enhancement opportunities, and corrective actions to further strengthen the operational effectiveness of the FiTI implementation and the initiative’s overall impact on the sustainable management of a country’s marine fisheries. An in-depth overview of the exact process can be found here.
The validation underlines the undeniable progress Seychelles has made in terms of improving transparency around the management of its marine fisheries sector. The validation, which was launched in September 2021, notes that significant amounts of fisheries information have been published by national authorities on government websites over the validation timeframe, which covered the period April 2020 to December 2021. This information includes a summary of fisheries tenure arrangements for each of the country’s fisheries in a user-friendly FAQ format, an online registry of industrial vessels licenced to fish in national waters, and a summary of the status of fish stocks, among many other aspects.
At the same time, the impact of the FiTI in a country relies not only on increasing public access to fisheries information but also ensuring that the information published by the government contributes to public debates and ultimately supports participatory governance of the sector. In this regard, the validation identified several improvement opportunities regarding multi-stakeholder participation in the ongoing FiTI implementation process. These include strengthening the engagement of the Seychelles FiTI National Multi-Stakeholder Group and increasing operational support to the group through a clearly assigned FiTI National Secretariat by the Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy.
The ’meaningful progress’ score means that Seychelles, for now, remains a FiTI Candidate Country. As part of its Compliance Statement, the FiTI International Board has issued four corrective actions for Seychelles to undertake which, if properly addressed, will see the country progress to the status of a FiTI Compliant Country. The Board will review the implementation status of these corrective actions during the next validation of Seychelles which is scheduled to start in June 2024.
On behalf of the FiTI International Board, the FiTI International Secretariat presented the results of this first validation to Minister of Fisheries and Blue Economy, Jean-Francois Ferrari, in a meeting held yesterday, 21 February. The results were also presented to the Seychelles FiTI National Multi-Stakeholder Group on 16 February.
The FiTI International Board’s Compliance Statement for Seychelles’ first validation, including the accompanying Report of the Independent Validator and the International Secretariat’s Baseline Assessment Report, can be downloaded here: