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Keep stakeholders informed about the fishery performance and ensure external oversight to assist with community confidence in the management system.

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.

 

Relevant questions

  • What is the target audience of the report on fishery performance and why?
  • Who needs to know about the fishery and why? Are they interested in all aspects or just some aspects of the fishery?
  • What are the formats needed for each type of audience: formal report, newsletter, website, etc.
  • What should the frequency of the reports be for each audience?
  • What should the report contain: information on successes and failures; progress and blockages; problems and solutions; present state as well as future perspectives?
  • What action is expected from the audience in return?
  • What impact is the reporting looking for: awareness raising? Institutional response?
  • How to get feed-back to the reports?
  • Is it time to consider eco-certification?
  • Is the current auditing frequent enough? Independent enough?

Key actions

  • Make information on the performance of the fishery available to relevant stakeholders.
  • Where appropriate have the fishery outcomes independently audited
  • Develop a communication strategy (audience, purpose, means)
  • Establish a process to produce some type of report, newsletter, website that will provide the key audiences with the types of data they require.
  • Determined what model is needed for reporting to Parliament (if required)
  • Establish a system to obtain feed-back from stakeholders (e.g. through the website, or formal round-tables).

Tools

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.


The selection criteria for these tools are given in the table below.

Tools and information sources

Selection criteria

Difficulty

Cost

Capacity

Know.

Participation

Time

Stakeholder Meetings Easy L L L M-H S
Newsletters Easy L-M L-M L M M
Web Pages Moderate L-M M L L-H M
Status Report examples Moderate L-M M M L M
Independent Reviews Moderate M H M L-M M
Eco-Labeling / certification Very Hard H H H L-H L

L= Low or Long; H= High; M= Medium, S=Short

 


  Back to Activity 4.3

 
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