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  2. Area of competence
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  5. Languages
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  7. Structure
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The main objective of the Southwest Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC) is to promote the sustainable utilization of the living marine resources of the Southwest Indian Ocean region, by the proper management and development of the living marine resources, and to address common problems of fisheries management and development faced by the Members of SWIOFC, without prejudice to the sovereign rights of coastal States.

SWIOFC promotes the application of the provisions of the FAO Code of Conduct on Responsible Fisheries, including the precautionary approach and the ecosystem approach to fisheries management.


The functions and responsibilities of the Commission include:

  • to contribute to improved governance through institutional arrangements that encourage cooperation amongst members;
  • to help fishery managers in the development and implementation of fishery management systems that take due account of environmental, social and economic concerns;
  • to keep under review the state of the fishery resources in the area and the industries based on them;
  • to promote, encourage and coordinate research related to the living marine resources in the area and draw up programmes required for this purpose, and to organize such research as may be necessary;
  • to promote the collection, exchange, dissemination and analysis or study of statistical, biological, environmental and socio-economic data and other marine fishery information;
  • to provide a sound scientific basis to assist Members in taking fisheries management decisions;
  • to provide advice on management measures to member governments and competent fisheries organizations;
  • to provide advice and promote co-operation on monitoring, control and surveillance, including joint activities, especially as regards issues of a regional or sub-regional nature;
  • to encourage, recommend and coordinate training in the areas of interest of the Commission;
  • to promote and encourage the utilization of the most appropriate fishing craft, gear, fishing techniques and post harvesting technologies.
Area of competence

The area of competence of the Commission shall be all waters of the Indian Ocean (including those under the national jurisdiction of Member States), bounded by a line drawn as follows: from a point on the high water mark on the East African coast at latitude 10° 00 N, thence due east along this parallel to the longitude 65°00 E, thence due south along this meridian to the equator, thence due east along this parallel to the longitude 80° 00 E, thence due south along this meridian to a parallel 45° 00 S, thence due west along this parallel to the longitude 30° 00 E, thence due north along this meridian to the coast of the African Continent.

SWIOFC area of competence - National waters
The boundaries and names shown and the designations used on this map do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers and boundaries. Dashed lines on maps represent approximate border lines for which there may not yet be full agreement.
Species and stocks coverageAll living marine resources. Legal frameworkSWIOFC was established in 2004 by Resolution 1/127 of the FAO Council under Article VI 1 of the FAO Constitution. Its Rules of Procedures were adopted by the Commission at its First session in 2005.
Resolution and Statutes
LanguagesEnglish, French. MembersThe Commission is composed of such Members and Associate Members of the FAO that are coastal States, whose territories are situated wholly or partly within the area of the Commission, and can join by notifying, in writing, the Director-General their interest in becoming a member of the Commission.

Current membership: Comoros, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, United Rep. of Tanzania, Yemen.

StructurePrincipal body

The governing body of SWIOFC is the Commission. It is composed of all Members. Meetings of the Commission are held at least once every two years. The Commission has a Scientific Committee and may establish, on an ad hoc basis, such other committees or working parties as it may consider necessary.

SecretariatThe Secretariat is provided by FAO Subregional Office for Southern Africa (SFS) that is based in Harare, Zimbabwe. However, since September 2015 the SWIOFC Secretariat has been moved to Maputo, Mozambique, hosted in the premises of the Administração Nacional das Pescas (ADNAP). The SWIOFC is a member of the Regional Fishery Body Secretariats Network that meets biennially.

SWIOFC documents

(Note: lists include bilingual documents)

SWIOFC meeting documents


Mr Luca Garibaldi

SWIOFC Secretary

Rua Consiglieri Pedroso, 347

Telephone: +258 21 080 489

Email: SWIOFC-Secretariat@fao.org

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