Summary of the parallel audit conducted by the Office of the Auditor General of Norway and the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation

Unregistered fishing and the illegal harvesting of fish in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea, and the challenges these have set for the fishing authorities’ control work, have been central topics in the discussions of the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commission in recent years.

The Office of the Auditor General (OAG) and the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation conducted a parallel audit of the management of fish resources in the Barents Sea and the Norwegian Sea from 2006 to 2007. The investigation was formally launched after an agreement of intent between the OAG and the Accounts Chamber of the Russian Federation was signed in January 2006.

The objective of the investigation has been to assess goal achievement and the efficiency and effectiveness of national follow-up and implementation of bilateral agreements between Russia and Norway and decisions taken by the Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries

The audit was performed in parallel in the sense that common general audit questions and audit criteria were defined and the same outline used for the reports. The two audit reports were written separately and on the basis of independent information. A major element in the parallel audit has been reciprocal learning, and emphasis has therefore been placed on detailed descriptions of the organisation and working methods of Norwegian fisheries management.

In the period January – April 2006, common goals, audit questions and general audit criteria were drawn up by means of a written dialogue between the parties. At the meeting in Moscow in May 2006, the parties arrived at common audit questions, and an agreement was signed in June 2006. The working parties met again in September in Norway to go through methodological approach and preliminary findings and to implement joint audit procedures.

In October 2006, the parties reached agreement on a common outline for the two reports. This chapter briefly presents the methods and analytical concepts that have been used to study the various audit questions (topics). The analysis rests largely on three types of source: official documents, statistical material and records of qualitative interviews. The contents of all interview records have been verified by the informants.

A joint memorandum was signed by the Auditors General of the two countries on 18 June 2007.