Southwest Indian Ocean Octopus Project (SWIOCeph)

The Southwest Indian Ocean Octopus Project (SWIOCeph) will assist octopus fishing communities towards more sustainable fishing practices in the southwest Indian Ocean region.

Why this project?

Octopus are traditionally caught by communities throughout the Indian Ocean and are a valuable source of protein and income. An increased global interest in octopus creates a potential for export market opportunities. Fishing sustainably will help these fisheries gain access to long-term social, environmental and economic benefits. 

The SWIOCeph project provides a platform for stakeholder collaboration in assisting communities on a course towards sustainability.

Where is it taking place?

SWIOCeph will work with fishers from coastal communities in South Africa, Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Reunion, Tanzania, Seychelles and Zanzibar.

Map showing South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania and Southwest Indian Ocean islands, with octopus icons.

How does it work?

By gathering information on fishing practices, landings and trade, the project will gain an understanding of octopus fisheries in the southwest Indian Ocean region. 

The project will then use the MSC Fisheries Standard, a globally recognised measure of sustainability to benchmark performance and prioritise improvement practices in selected octopus fisheries. 

The third stage will engage stakeholders in collaboration on developing action plans for selected fisheries, with the ultimate aim of those fisheries becoming MSC certified. 


SWIOCeph project stages


Stage 1


Stage 2


Stage 3

Action Plans

What?Mapping fisheries in the regionAssessing baseline performance and identifying areas for improvementDeveloping action plans to improve fisheries' performance against the MSC indicators
How?Building fisheries profiles through desktop research and stakeholder interviewsConducting large-scale gap analysis of fisheries' performance against the MSC StandardAgreeing on actions and stakeholders' responsibilities to address gaps defined in Stage 2
By whom?MSC or external partnersAccredited third-party assessorCollaborative stakeholder effort

Who is involved?

SWIOCeph was initiated by the MSC with conservation group Blue Ventures, the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GiZ) (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) and the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR). 

The MSC and AU-IBAR provided funding to initiate the project and enable ongoing capacity building training. Funding for Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the project has been provided by GiZ.


Contact us

Andrew Gordon

Andrew Gordon

Fisheries Outreach Manager - Southern Africa

+27 21 5510 620

Email Andrew

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