South Africa and the Maldives will work together to improve the livelihood of their fishing communities and the management of tuna fisheries in the Indian Ocean.
The commitment was made during a high level meeting of Fisheries Ministers held recently at the Bandos Island Resort, Malé.
Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister 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 the Maldives.
During the high level meeting, South Africa formalised its relationship with the Government of the Republic of Maldives by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
The MoU is voluntary and commits the two countries to work together to improve the livelihood of their fishing communities and improve the management of tuna and tuna fisheries in the Indian Ocean. 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.
In 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;
- Work together with other South Western Indian Ocean countries in the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission and South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission to cooperate and coordinate in the development and implementation of the Conservation and Management Measures;
- Support each other on the catch allocation criteria discussions in the Indian Ocean and work together to establish a sound allocation mechanism for Indian Ocean in the near future;
- Support each other on capacity building activities, especially on areas where each country have gained further knowledge;
- Exchange information with regard to activities of mutual interest. The parties will nominate a focal person or persons from within their respective organisations to coordinate 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, and a
- Any disputes arising from activities resulting from MoU being settled amicably.