The South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC) held its eleventh session. Eleven of the ten member countries participated in the session, namely Comoros, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, United Republic of Tanzania and Yemen.
Since the creation of the SWIOFC in 2005, it is the first time that member states have virtually held their ordinary session. The session was preceded on August 3, 2021 by the Regional Steering Committees of fishing projects in the South-West Indian Ocean region linked to the SWIOFC, namely the SWIOFish1 project financed by the World Bank and the FAO AEP-Nansen program. The Commission acts as a regional platform for steering and collaboration with fisheries projects. Several other projects and partners contributed to the meeting, including the European Union, the French Development Agency, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, the Nairobi Convention, the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency and the Southern African Development Community Fisheries Control and Surveillance Coordination Center. which is intended to be hosted with the SWIOFC Secretariat in Maputo, Mozambique.
Opening remarks for the meeting were delivered by Ms. Najat Alfakih of Yemen, Second Vice-President of the Commission, after welcoming remarks by Mr. Vasco Schmidt, Acting Secretary of the Ocean Fisheries Commission Southwest Indian. The official opening was made by Mr. Matthew Abang, on behalf of Dr. Patrice Talla Takoukam, FAO Sub-regional coordinator for Southern Africa.
Ms. Najat Alfakih, speaking on behalf of Mr. Emmanuel Bulayi, the SWIOFC President, underlined the importance of increased cooperation and collaboration between Member States as an essential key to reap the social and economic benefits through the implementation of the minimum duration condition (TCM) at the regional level. In addition, she referred to the significant progress made by SADC concerning the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Center (SCS). “Cooperation between the different regions SCS initiatives, which currently depend to a large extent on financial contribution, would be essential to collaborate more effectively in solving the problem of INN in the SWIOFC region, ”Ms. Alfakih said.
Mr. Mathew Abang, speaking on behalf of FAO Subregional Office for Southern Africa (SFS), recognized the significant progress made by the Commission since the last session with regard to the program of its work. He also referred to the many important instruments which are applied by the Commission in the SWIO region, namely the minimum conditions for access by foreign fisheries to the SWIOFC Region; the voluntary guidelines to ensure sustainable artisanal fisheries and the ecosystem approach to fisheries management (SSF Guidelines). “These instruments serve as guiding references to govern the access of foreign fisheries to the SWIOFC region and ensure the sustainable management and development of artisanal fisheries and a more equitable contribution of the fisheries sectors to the livelihoods of coastal communities in the Western Indian Ocean region, ”said Mr. Abang.
The report of the scientific committee of SWIOFC was approved and included a proposal to create a new working group on the socio-economics of fisheries in the SWIOFC. The Scientific Committee’s report also included a recommendation from Member States to promote research on coastal invertebrate fisheries, focusing on a first phase on sea cucumber, octopus, marsh crab, shrimp, in order to promote cooperation and active exchange of information between the member institutions involved. in fisheries research and management. .
The SWIOFC also endorsed the recommendations of its Working Group on Collaboration and Cooperation in Tuna Fisheries (WPCCTF) including the actions proposed for the implementation of the minimum conditions (TCM) Guidelines for the access of foreign fisheries in the SWIOFC region to regional level. The TCM Guidelines were adopted by all member countries in February 2019. The Commission noted with satisfaction the progress made in the implementation of the TCM guidelines. This directive represents good practice in terms of requirements for granting access to foreign fishing vessels, including fishing, supply and transport vessels. Properly implemented through legislation and procedures, their benefits include, among others, a guide for strengthening national standards for access to foreign fishing
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of FAO Regional Office for Africa.
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