RI seeks to boost transparency in fisheries
Hans Nicholas Jong
The Jakarta Post
In a bid to improve transparency in the country's fisheries industry, the government is preparing for the full implementation of the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI), a global multistakeholder initiative aimed at enhancing responsible and sustainable fisheries through transparency and participation.
The Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Ministry said on Friday that the government was preparing for the country to be among the first few countries to implement the FiTI, which is slated to take effect in February 2016 during its first high-level international conference in Mauritania.
'Preparations include establishing a national FiTI multistakeholder group to make sure policies on fisheries management are transparent and participative,' the ministry said in a press statement.
According to Sven Biermann, FiTI interim program director, the establishment of the multistakeholder group is among requirements for a country to become FiTI compliant.
'Once Indonesia said that it wanted to become a FiTI-compliant country, it had to go through a process to meet FiTI standards, such as how to establish a national multistakeholder group. The country invites civil society organizations and businesses to join and become part of this process,' he said on Friday.
Biermann said that the involvement of civil society and the private sector in the initiative was something that would set it apart from other similar initiatives.
'The focus that we have is the combination of transparency and participation. It doesn't make sense to bring information nobody cares about. So we're looking into what kind of information people care about, such as who has the right to fish? What is paid? And how much fish is extracted?' he said.
In terms of transparency, the FiTI will produce reliable, publicly accessible and generally accepted information in the form of regular country reports as a product of a consultative process. The provision of such country reports will be based on a coherent framework, which is currently being developed by the FiTI Secretariat, supported by an international advisory group.
The FiTI will then enhance the credibility of these reports through deliberation involving all major stakeholder groups, including governments, companies and civil society.
'Civil society involvement gives FiTI this unique credibility,' Biermann said. Four countries have expressed their support for the initiative: Indonesia, Mauritania, Costa Rica and Seychelles, according to him.
The deputy coordinating minister on maritime sovereignty at the Office of the Coordinating Maritime Affairs Minister, Arif Havas Oegroseno, said that the FiTI should include more countries that import fish as they a played crucial role in the industry.
'Of course it's a very welcome and important initiative but you have to be able to provide very good and clear pictures, and it's important to bring Indonesia and the market element. You should bring Brussels into the picture. Otherwise, we'll see FiTI with small African countries and Indonesia only, and it won't be able to provide a balanced picture,' he said on Friday.
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