The government of Madagascar has announced that it has officially requested to enter the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI), joining the recent commitments of other coastal states including Senegal, Seychelles and Mauritania. The FiTI is a global transparency standard which aims to help coastal countries increase the credibility and quality of national fisheries information.
The world’s oceans are being depleted by climate change, overfishing and pollution. Comprehentsive, robust and transparent information is essential to inform ocean management that protects marine life, safeguards food security and ensures a sustainable and equitable ocean economy.
The FiTI is a global partnership that seeks to increase transparency and participation for a more sustainable management of marine fisheries. By making fisheries management more transparent and inclusive, the FiTI promotes informed public debates on fisheries policies. “The initiative will support the long-term contribution of the sector to the economy and the well-being of communities and businesses that depend on a healthy ocean”, said Rindra Rasoloniriana, Blue Ventures’ National Fisheries Advisor in Antananarivo.
“This is a major step towards the preservation, management and development of sustainable fisheries for future generations”, said Madagascar’s Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy. “Joining the FiTI will allow us to improve delivery of public services, enhance transparency for responsible fishing and promote collaboration between all stakeholders in the fisheries and blue economy sector.”
Madagascar’s small-scale fisheries support the food security and livelihoods of millions. The country’s diverse marine ecosystems are facing unprecedented degradation from climate change and overfishing, with growing numbers of small-scale and industrial fishing boats competing for dwindling catches. A government action plan, supported by the World Bank under its SWIOFish2 project, aims to improve the sustainability of the country’s fisheries, and tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing. Efforts to support sustainability have long been hindered by a lack of publicly available information on fisheries. Basic data – such as the licences granted to fishing companies, the conditions of international fisheries agreements and the status of fish stocks and catches – have rarely been in the public domain.
In deciding to join the FiTI, Madagascar commits to engage in a participatory and multi-stakeholder approach, with representation and participation by small-scale, artisanal and industrial fishers, civil society, and government authorities. The FiTI is a pragmatic initiative, which recognises the need for each country to enhance the transparency of information collection and sharing systems at its own pace.
Blue Ventures has worked in Madagascar for more than eighteen years to support local efforts to rebuild fisheries with coastal communities, welcomes the Madagascar government’s decision to join FiTI and is providing technical support to the Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy to meet the challenge.