Transparentsea is currently undertaking research on donor spending in Africa for fisheries and marine conservation projects. The aim of the research is to provide the first global view of spending by multilateral and bi-lateral aid organisations and to analyse levels of transparency and accountability. The results of this project will be published towards the end of 2011. Continue reading
Efforts to gain access to previously confidential files held by the European Commission seem to have been successful. Transparentsea and 25 other organisations petitioned the European Commission for access to all ex ante and post ante evaluations of EU fisheries agreements with developing countries. The request was initially refused by the DG-MARE on the grounds that releasing these documents ‘could threaten the commercial interests of the European fishing industry and it could harm the international relations of the EU’. Transparentsea, working with legal support from ClientEarth, contested this decision as it contradicted the Aarhus Convention.
A ‘confirmatory application’ was sent to Catherine Day, the Secretary General of the European Commission. This set out our objections to the position of DG-MARE and provided a comprehensive argument as to why these documents must be made public. Her response was unsatisfactory as it was suggested some of the documents could be shared, but parts of the documents may be deleted. Transparentsea and ClientEarth wrote back stating that the matter would be taken further and that a court application was being prepared. At this point the EC reviewed their decision and agreed to provide full access to 16 evaluations. Their response indicated that more will follow, although they still would like to review the contents of these evaluations.
The decision by the EC to grant full access to these 16 documents now means the veil of secrecy surrounding its evaluations of fisheries agreements has been lifted. We sincerely hope that the EC will follow through and provide unrestricted access to all of its evaluations. We also presume that given this change in policy, in the future all ex ante and ex post evaluations will be published by the EC.
You can view the 16 documents here, and we will immediately post new evaluations as and when they are sent to us.
In March this year TransparentSea sent a letter to the European Commission Directorate General of Maritime Affairs (DG-MARE) for access to all of the ex ante and post ante evaluations of fisheries agreements held with developing countries. The letter was supported by 22 other organisations. The request was refused, for reasons that were not clear or acceptable to us. Essentially we were told that the documents are confidential so as to protect commercial interests and the international relations of the EU.
On the 30th of March this year thousands of Senegalese fishers went on strike, protesting at the Ministry of Maritime Affairs’ decision to give ‘illegal’ licenses to 22 foreign industrial trawlers to fish pelagic stocks. The trawlers are made up of 9 boats registered in Russia, 4 from Lithuania, 3 from Saint Vincent and Grenadines, 2 from Belize, 2 from the Comoros Island, 1 from Germany and 1 from Georgia. A press release issued by the organisers of the protest read: “These juggernauts of 100 m long will target coastal pelagic stocks (sardinella, horse mackerel, mackerel), which constitute the staple food of the Senegalese population and play a central role in the food chain and the marine eco-system…these vessels are equipped with gears that can suck up all the animals and plants. With such a destructive fishing system, all the resources will be caught, to become either processed or frozen products, fishmeal or fish oil ‘. Continue reading
On Friday 11th of March a letter was sent by TransparentSea to the European Commission requesting access to ex-ante and ex-post evaluations of all EU fisheries access agreements. 20 organisations signed this letter, which was addressed to the Head of the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Ms Lowri Evans. Continue reading
On the 26th of February TransparentSea and the Coalition for Fair Fisheries Arrangements hosted a seminar at the European Parliament. The seminar brought a diverse group of people together to discuss access to information in fisheries and to consider how the current review of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy could help advance transparency. Continue reading
An ambitious global initiative is set to be launched this year to improve government transparency and accountability. The initiative is being driven by the government of the United States, working closely with many other countries, civil society organisations and international donors. Although full details of this initiative are still to be published, various organisations have been approached to provide proposals for particular areas of government responsibility. TransparentSea was delighted to be asked to submit a proposal on marine fisheries, which is available below. Continue reading