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Countries discuss for responsible fisheries practices across Indian Ocean

Countries from the Indian Ocean Islands and East Africa met on Mahe Island in Seychelles on 27-28 June 2017, to discuss the fisheries transparency initiative (FiTI) for developing strategies to tackle illegal fishing and increase accountability in fisheries practices in the region

The FiTI workshop was organised by the African Natural Resources Centre of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the government of Seychelles, the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and the FiTI International Secretariat.

The two-day meeting was attended by the representatives from the fishing industry, civil society, governments and fishing administrations from Seychelles, Mauritius, Comoros, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya and Mozambique.

The purpose of the event was to enhance the understanding of fisheries administration and transparency in the sector, focusing on FiTI’s role to yield benefits for communities and other stakeholders.

AfDB observed that the African countries are vulnerable to overfishing and depletion of fish stock due to opaque and unregulated fishing practices by foreign companies as well as local communities.

“Transparency is essential for responsible and accountable fisheries practices,” said Jean-Louis Kromer, chief natural resources management officer of the African Natural Resources Centre.

“The African Natural Resource Centre of the AfDB has been actively involved in the FiTI conceptual phase leading to the FiTI standard, because we believe it can effectively improve the governance of the fisheries sector in Africa, helping to secure the livelihoods of millions of Africans living in fishing communities,” added Kromer.

In addition, the workshop also aimed at securing the interest of the IOC and Eastern African countries to take part in FiTI and adhere to the FiTI standard.

The FiTI standard is an agreement on 12 transparency requirements that include the publication of all foreign fishing agreements, existing national reports about the fish stocks and a public registry of national fisheries laws and official policy documents.

Commenting on the FiTI western Indian regional workshop, Sven Biermann, director of the FiTI international secretariat, stressed, “All stakeholders, governments, business, civil society, academia and media must contribute their knowledge and experiences to together conserve and sustainably use our oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.”

“This participation cannot work without transparency and having access to basic information,” he said.