Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nationsfor a world without hunger
Fisheries and Aquaculture Department
Activity 4.4 – Reporting, communication and auditing of performance
Overview of the activity
Good governance involves transparency to enhance the level of confidence in the process. It is therefore expected that each fishery should report on the current outcomes being generated by the management system to core stakeholders, the parliament, the public at large, and possibly at regional and world levels (e.g. UN). It is also becoming more frequent for the public in many countries to require some level of independent auditing of performance to be confident that acceptable community outcomes are being generated. This is resulting in the increased use of eco-labelling and other third party auditing systems.
The level and type of reporting and auditing required for each fishery will be affected by who are the main audiences, which in turn is dependent upon the type of fishery, the markets where the product is sold, local, national and international community attitudes, the types of issues involved and any legislative requirements and relevant treaties.
Keeping stakeholders informed at a community level is very important to maintain the momentum and legitimacy of the management system and its functionality (e.g. its capacity to adapt to change) especially where this is a community based fishery. Having the government stay committed to controversial actions will generally require direct discussions with key political leaders not merely submission of reports.
For some fisheries where it is an export fishery or the fishery interacts with some well known iconic species the key audience may not even be in their country.
At the simplest level, the performance of the fishery could be communicated to stakeholders directly at regular meetings which can be assisted by local extension officers, direct contacts or traditional communications. Short reports (e.g. fishery bulletins) could be developed and circulated to all industry members including broader use of web pages and email and even text messages. Unexpected or serious events may call for a special effort, e.g. using radio and other media (TV, Newspapers).
More important strategic reports on the performance of the fishery may need to be submitted to government, e.g. to the Parliament. The latter will certainly have a prescribed format. There are now many examples of regular and comprehensive status reports.
External audits can include independent reviews of one or more aspects of the fishery (e.g the stock assessment). In some countries the entire set of fisheries are audited by the environment agency. There is now a number of comprehensive non government systems for external auditing done for eco-labelling/third party certification. Because of the cost of formal eco-labelling this will usually restricted to those commercial fisheries that are relatively valuable and where there markets are likely to pay a premium (or even just allow entry) for certified product. The costs of such schemes are likely to be prohibitive for most small-scale fisheries.
L= Low or Long; H= High; M= Medium, S=Short