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FiTI, in collaboration with CEMLAWS Africa, initiates online transparency assessment of fisheries management information for Ghana

In order to support Ghana in starting a transformative journey in enhancing the availability and comprehensibility of fisheries management information, the FiTI announced today the start of its ‘TAKING STOCK – Online Transparency of Fisheries Management Information’ assessment for the country’s marine fisheries sector. Marine fisheries is of critical importance to Ghana, fulfilling the country’s economic, food security, and nutrition needs. Recent years have seen a series of reforms to ensure the sector’s long-term sustainability. At the same time, Ghana is regularly criticised for its management of fisheries, including inadequate fisheries regulations, opaque decision-making and ownership structures, and unequitable allocation of resources and their benefit-sharing between stakeholders – including between small-scale and large-scale fishers.

Enhancing transparency is therefore a critical step in improving fisheries governance in Ghana. The importance of public access to information as a prerequisite to managing fisheries efficiently and sustainably has also been recognised by the recent 7th Meeting of the OACPS Ministers in Charge of Fisheries and Aquaculture in Ghana (5 – 8 April 2022) – held under the leadership of Ghana’s Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MOFAD), emphasising the ‘importance of transparency in fisheries governance and sustainable fisheries management as a concrete benefit and contribution to building resilience and sustainability at local, national, and regional levels’. Through this TAKING STOCK assessment, the FiTI will provide the national authorities of Ghana and relevant stakeholders with a comprehensive understanding of the types of information already published in the public domain and where enhancement opportunities exist. The results will also establish a credible benchmark, based on which improvements can be demonstrated over time. In more detail, the assessment will evaluate the types of marine fisheries management information that the national authorities publish on their websites according to the FiTI Standard. A total of 39 individual transparency elements will be assessed, ranging from the publication of national laws, fisheries management plans, and vessel registries to fisheries subsidies, and beneficial ownership. Beyond simply considering if this information is available online, the assessment will also look at the quality of government information, considering whether it is up-to-date and easy for people to find.

“The TAKING STOCK assessment will demonstrate strengths as well as improvement opportunities in the levels of fisheries management information online in Ghana, which can serve as an entry point for debates with national and international stakeholders regarding prospects for the greater good transparency in the management of the sector,” said Mansor Ndour, FiTI’s Regional Coordinator for West Africa.

The assessment will be conducted in collaboration with the Centre for Maritime Law and Security Africa (CEMLAWS Africa). Dr Kamal-Deen Ali, Executive Director of CEMLAWS Africa noted that “access to information engenders transparency, which is a key enabler of effective governance and unbiased enforcement of laws and policies of the fisheries sector. Thus, contributing to improved livelihoods and national development”. The results of this TAKING STOCK assessment will be published at the end of April 2023. The TAKING STOCK assessment for Ghana is funded by the Bloomberg Philanthropies Vibrant Oceans Initiative.

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