Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA)

The Southern Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement (SIOFA) was signed in Rome the 7th July 2006 and entered into force in June 2012. To date, SIOFA has ten Contracting Parties: Australia, China, the Cook Islands, the European Union, France on behalf of its Indian Ocean Territories, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mauritius, the Seychelles and Thailand, one Participating fishing entity: Chinese Taipei and two cooperating non-Contracting Parties: Comoros and India. Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique and New Zealand are also signatories to this Agreement but have not ratified it.

The SIOFA Area

The objectives of this Agreement are to ensure the long-term conservation and sustainable use of the fishery resources in the Area through cooperation among the Contracting Parties, and to promote the sustainable development of fisheries in the Area, taking into account the needs of developing States bordering the Area that are Contracting Parties to this Agreement, and in particular the least developed among them and small-island developing States. This Agreement covers fishery resources including fish, molluscs, crustaceans and other sedentary species within the area, but excluding highly migratory species (Annex I of UNCLOS) and sedentary species subject to the fishery jurisdiction of coastal states (Article 77(4) of UNCLOS).

The first Meeting of the Parties, the Agreement’s decision-making body, was held in Australia in October 2013. The second Meeting of the Parties, held in Mauritius in March 2015, agreed to base the Headquarters in La Réunion, a French Department and outermost region of the EU, in the Indian Ocean. At the third Meeting of the Parties, held in La Réunion in July 2016 important administrative steps were finalized to enable SIOFA to become fully operational including the selection of an Executive Secretary, and the selection of Chairperson and vice-Chairperson. Staff regulations, financial regulations, budgets were approved and a Headquarters Agreement was signed between France and SIOFA. In addition it was possible to achieve the adoption of 7 important Conservation and Management Measures. All these achievements combine to lay the foundations of a management framework to ensure the long-term sustainability of fishery resources and protection the marine Environment in the SIOFA Agreement Area.