TransparentSea is an new initiative which aims to promote access to information and accountability in marine fisheries. It has been established with the support of the Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements. CFFA is an NGO based in Brussels, launched in 1992, that aims to stimulate and support the involvement of coastal people and small-scale fisheries in policy debates affecting their livelihoods.
The motivation for TransparentSea lies with global overfishing and the rapid loss of marine biodiversity. Such trends are threatening the future of seafood supply and the livelihoods of millions of fishers and coastal communities around the world. Climate change, habitat destruction and population growth represent part of the problem, however responsible and equitable governance of our oceans is being constantly challenged by short-term commercial interests and the lack of political will to enforce regulations and act on scientific advice.
Secrecy and lack of accountability contributes to this failure of fisheries governance. In many countries and regions basic information on the management of commercial fisheries is obscured from public scrutiny. This includes information on which companies buy fishing licenses, how much revenue is being generated from fisheries, what subsidies are being paid to the fishing sector and what limits are put in place to restrict fishing intensity. This lack of accountability and openness in fisheries management undermines policy making and it facilitates corruption, wasteful spending and illegal fishing.
Improving access to information in fisheries wont solve the marine crisis, but it is a critical task and something that more and more organisations and fishing companies are realizing.
TransparentSea aims to constructively work with others to expose and challenge this state of affairs. It will do this by undertaking research and analysis on transparency in fisheries, such as an international survey that will show what type of data governments publish, how authorities respond to requests for information made by their citizens and what are the beneficial outcomes of improving transparency. Meetings and publications by TransparentSea aim to improve policy debates, raise awareness and advance strong policy recommendations. TransparentSea will also work with governments, the fishing industry, donors and civil society organisations in regions such as Africa and the Pacific, to help build local capacity to access information and improve accountability. Where necessary, this initiative will also involve pursuing litigation to ensure authorities and the fishing industry disclose important information, using regional and international conventions and binding agreements on freedom of information and human rights.
This website will provide updates on the work of TransparentSea, as well as relevant news and analysis. Any comments, advice and support on the work of TransparentSea will be most welcome.