An international organisation aimed at ensuring good governance, transparency and accountability within the global fisheries sector will now be based in Seychelles.
The Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI) International Secretariat will be located in the island nation as a result of a pledge made by Seychelles last year.
Seychelles pledged to host the Secretariat at the 'Our Oceans' Conference held in Bali in 2018. The FiTI International Secretariat Victoria was launched officially at State House on Tuesday.
Vice President Vincent Meriton, who holds the Blue Economy portfolio, said that the opening of the secretariat in Seychelles is the first International Transparency Initiative headquarters to be located in the global south.
"Sustainable fisheries is and will be particularly challenging in the Indian Ocean. Our ocean is populated by numerous coastal states that greatly differ in terms of their social-economic context, culture and aspirations," said Meriton.
The vice president hopes that with the establishment of the secretariat in Seychelles, "the support of the international community will be reinforced, as this is vital for its success in the first few years of its existence."
The special advisor in the Seychelles' Department of the Blue Economy, Philippe Michaud, said that "transparency is required to make sure that resources are well managed, that information are valid and credible and that the government can defend decisions they make."
"It is important to have the participation of all involved actors and these stakeholders can have their own say," he said.
On his side, the director of the FiTI International Secretariat, Sven Biermann, said that most of the countries and islands all around the world face a complex challenge.
Countries have to ensure that the fisheries sector provides income and gives employment, food and nutrition security for millions of people, while at the same time also ensuring that marine biodiversity is conserved for future generations, he said.
Fisheries is the second top contributor to the economy of Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.
"In order to achieve what we call sustainable fisheries, we need to consider the economic social and environmental sides, and these three dimensions are interdependent," said Biermann.
He explained that "it's not something that a single actor or a stakeholder or a government can do on its own."
"Instead, such a complex matter needs to be addressed through collective effort, including that of the government, businesses and civil society, taking their perspectives, experiences and expectations to really make sound and fair decisions," said Biermann.