Comprehensive information and data about fisheries in Seychelles will benefit the economy, the management of stocks and the general development of the country, a high government official said on Wednesday.
Or as another official put it: When there is no more fish on people’s plates, it will be too late to gather information and act.
The Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) held a kick-off forum Wednesday organised jointly by the Department of Blue Economy and the initiative.
The leader of FiTI in Seychelles, Philippe Michaud, said it is becoming common for countries that are importing fish to know not only where the fish comes from, but also if the fish has been properly caught if the stock is sustainable, and if other aspects of this industry are in order. In Seychelles, fisheries is the second largest contributor to the economy after tourism.
“One challenge is that there isn’t much interest in the sector. When it comes to tourism, for example, there is a large amount of information that is published and that is made available. However, with fisheries, even if there is a lot of information out there, it is not easy for a common person to understand,” said Michaud.
FiTI is a global multi-stakeholder partnership where governments, business and civil society collaborate. It seeks to increase transparency and participation for the benefit of more sustainable management of marine fisheries and the well-being of citizens and businesses that depend on the marine environment. 

The Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) held a kick-off forum Wednesday organised jointly by the Department of Blue Economy and the initiative. (Jude Morel) Photo License: CC-BY
The aim of the forum was to stimulate debates on how fisheries information is provided to the public and increase awareness about the importance of fisheries in Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean.
The forum was also held to pave the path to the presentation of a report Seychelles needs to submit to the initiative about the country’s fisheries transparency. The report will be launched at the second full-day workshop – planned for the end of the year – where results will be presented and discussed.
The executive director of the International Secretariat of FiTI, Sven Biermann, said that there is a great need to educate people about the importance of transparency within this sector.
“I think that the sense of urgency is not there yet because there is still fish on the plate, people are still going out fishing, enjoying sport fishing among other activities. Yet we have seen from our colleague from FAO that fish stocks are declining,” he said.
Biermann added that “we need to create urgency on this particular aspect because if there is no more fish on the plate, it is too late to react. We need to create the demand and that the public understands better how this sector in Seychelles is doing and is managed.”
Without transparency in any sector, not only in fisheries, there is no understanding whether the government that has been entrusted with managing that particular sector is a good job said Biermann.
“The general public needs to have a wider understanding of how the sector is managed because it impacts all of the people living in Seychelles, not just from a trade or economic point of view, but also jobs, livelihood and culture among other things,” he said. 
Source: Seychelles News Agency