South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Project (SWIOFP)

SWIOFP is a regional fisheries research project that focuses on shared offshore resources of nine countries: Comoros, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, South Africa and Tanzania. France (a developed country) is included because of its islands in the region (i.e. Reunion and islands in the Mozambique channel). The governments of the nine countries have signed a MoU between themselves and the World Bank, binding them to the support of SWIOFP project activities. SWIOFP is one of three GEF-funded projects implemented to develop a transboundary diagnostic analysis (TDA) and strategic action plan (SAP) to underpin long-term sustainable use of SWIO coastal and marine environments. SWIOFP will receive USD 12 million from the World Bank over its duration, and similar levels of in-kind and counterpart funding from other partners are expected. The GEF projects collectively represent an International Waters study of large marine ecosystems in the region, specifically the Agulhas and Somali Current LMEs. The boundaries of SWIOFP extend seawards to the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of member countries, and the target stocks include migratory fishes (such as tuna) and straddling stocks (fish and prawn stocks that occur across international boundaries).  SWIOFP is structured into six Components: 1-Data and IT; 2-Crustacean Fisheries; 3-Demersal Fisheries; 4-Pelagic Fisheries; 5-Biodiversity impacts of fishing; 6-Fisheries Management, and each component is coordinated by a different country. South Africa coordinates Component 2 -Crustacean Fisheries (5 countries involved) from the SWIOFP operations office at ORI. The rationale of SWIOFP is that enhanced knowledge of the offshore marine environment will help the countries of the region to implement a regional strategy for managing shared fish stocks and conserving biodiversity. ORI plays a leading role in SWIOFP, as a principal strategic partner and a hub of scientific and management expertise from which much of the project planning and implementation is coordinated.  In essence ORI contributes to SWIOFP at 3 levels: a) Project management and implementation from the ORI operational offices; b) Ad hoc consulting on scientific / technical aspects; and c) providing a home for SWIOFP MSc students.