South Africa’s Minister of Fisheries Senzeni Zokwana attended a high level meeting of the G16 Group of like-minded Indian Ocean coastal states fisheries ministers, hosted by the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture of Maldives at the Bandos Island Resort in Malé.
During the meeting of fisheries ministers, South Africa formalised its relationship with the government of the Republic of Maldives by signing a Memorandum of Understanding.
The MoU is voluntary and commits the two countries to work together to improve the livelihood of their fishing communities and improve management of the tuna and tuna-like fisheries in the Indian Ocean. Furthermore it commits the two countries to work together towards improving compliance with the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) and South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC) and to improve social and community resilience for the conservation and management measures taken by the IOTC and SWIOFC.
“This commits the two countries to work together with other South Western Indian Ocean countries in the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission and South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission to co-operate and co-ordinate in the development and implementation of the Conservation and Management Measures,” said a spokesperson for South Africa’s Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
Under the MoU, the governments of South Africa and Maldives agree to support activities that will ensure an improved understanding of the socio-economic conditions of the fishery and fishing communities, to support each other on catch allocation criteria discussions in the Indian Ocean and work together to establish a sound allocation mechanism for Indian Ocean in the near future, and to support each other on capacity building activities, especially on areas where each country have gained further knowledge.
In addition, the MoU extends to an agreement on exchanging information with regard to activities of mutual interest. Each nation will nominate a focal person or persons from within their respective organisations to co-ordinate this information exchange.
Separate Letters of Agreement that will be drawn up for the activities to be carried out under this MoU indicating clearly the financial and implementation responsibilities of each Party.