The Ninth Session of the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC) was held in Cape Town, from the 9th – 12th October 2018, at the invitation of the Government of the Republic of South Africa.

The meeting was attended by delegates from France, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique,Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa and the United Republic of Tanzania. Representatives of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), EuropeanUnion (EU), Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA), Stop Illegal Fishing (SIF), World Bank (WB), Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and the Nairobi Convention (NC) attended the session as observers.

Speaking at the opening of the meeting, Acting Head of Fisheries for the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in South Africa, Dr Motseki Hlatshwayo encouraged all member States to ratify the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (UN FAO) 2009 Port State Measures Agreement (PSMA) and other relevant instruments in order to strengthen global collaborations in addressing illegalfishing. He stated, “We need to improve regional efforts in dealing with fisheries scientific research, resource management and compliance with the best national and international instruments so as conserve fisheries resources for future generations.”

The reports of the Scientific Committee and the Working Party for Collaboration and Cooperation in TunaFisheries (WPCCTF) were presented at the meeting, and the Guidelines for minimumterms and conditions (MTC) for foreign fishing access to the SWIOFC region discussed.

Other matters discussed included progressmade towards the establishment of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Monitoring Control and Surveillance Coordination Centre (MCSCC) and the approval by SADC Ministers for the incorporation of FISH-i Africa into the MCSCC as a platform for information exchange amongst Member States and partners as well as for providing support to the regional joint fishery and ocean patrols.The SADC Secretariat and SIF are working on a memorandum of understanding to implement this decision.

Mr Patrick Kormawa, FAO Representative of the Subregional Office for Southern Africa stated “The SADC Regional MCSCC has made significant progress. This centre is truly a new bridge between the SADC and the SWIOFC and would not have been possible without the support of the Government of Mozambique. SADC partners and related organisations – such as WWF, SIF, IOC SWIOFC, and SEAFO should cooperate to maximise chances for sustainability of this centre and its impact on the region.”

The 10th Session of the SWIOFC is scheduled for October 2019 in the Maldives.