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IOC SmartFish is a regional fisheries programme managed by the Indian Ocean Commission, funded by the European Union and co-implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. IOC SmartFish, which operates in twenty countries throughout the Indian Ocean Region, Southern and Eastern Africa, focuses on fisheries governance, management, monitoring control and surveillance, trade, and food security.

About the programme

The programme is implemented by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) in collaboration with the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East Africa Community (EAC) and the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Other regional institutions involved include the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and regional fisheries management organizations, such as the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), the Southwest Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC), the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization (LVFO), and the Lake Tanganyika Authority (LTA).


Fisheries are one of the most significant renewable resources that Eastern-Southern Africa and Indian Ocean Region (ESA-IO) countries have for food security, livelihoods and economic growth based on sustainable resources management plans and there is significant potential for value-added production. As populations in these countries continue to grow, the future benefits that these resources can provide will require balancing the increasing demands on fisheries, with the capacity of oceanic, coastal and freshwater fish stocks to sustain those harvests.

The SmartFish Programme aims at contributing to an increased level of social, economic and environmental development and deeper regional integration in the ESA-IO through improved capacities for the sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources.

Beneficiaries countries

The program’s beneficiary countries include Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Though they don't benefit from 10th EDF ESA-IO funds, Mozambique and South Africa are involved as members of SADC and through the Inter-Regional Coordination Committee (IRCC) framework. Réunion Island (France) is also participating as a member of the IOC; although not as a financial beneficiary.

Fisheries Management and Food Security

David Signa
Davide Signa/FAO

A Programme Management Unit has been established to assist with the implementation of the project and is based in IOC Headquarters in Mauritius. FAO is co-implementing the SmartFish Programme on matters related to fisheries management and to food security.

David Signa
Davide Signa/FAO

The following four dimensions of food security are addressed:

  • Food availability: The availability of sufficient quantities of food of appropriate quality, supplied through domestic production or imports.
  • Food access: Access by individuals to adequate resources (entitlements) for acquiring appropriate foods for a nutritious diet.
  • Utilization: Utilization of food through adequate diet, clean water, sanitation and health care to reach a state of nutritional well-being where all physiological needs are met.
  • Stability: To be food secure, a population, household or individual must have access to adequate food at all times, with reduce risk of losing access to food due to sudden shocks.

The Programme assists with integrating fisheries and aquaculture into national and regional food security action plans. It also assists with the implementation of selected actions identified as especially relevant and which, inter alia, relate to:

  • Improved knowledge and preparedness to climate change impacts on fisheries
  • Capacity building in post harvest assessments;
  • Reduction of post harvest losses in the food chain;
  • The promotion of aquaculture;
  • Diversification initiatives in favour of coastal fisheries communities.


Latest publications

Click here to search documents published by the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department


Coming soon

  • National Fish Consumption Campaign in Djibouti
  • National Workshop on PHLR in the Malagasy Crab Value chain
  • Onboard Identification of Sharks and Rays Initiative in Comoros and Madagascar

Learn More: http://www.smartfish-coi.org/

Contact us

Email: smartfish

In collaboration with:

Our institutional partners:

Lake Victoria Fisheries OrganizationLake Tanganyka Authority Southwest Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC) Southern African Development Community (SADC) Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC)

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