Southwest Indian Ocean Octopus Project (SWIOCeph)

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

Why this project?

Octopus is traditionally caught by communities throughout the Indian Ocean and is a valuable source of protein and income. Increased global interest in octopus product has also created export market opportunities. Fishing sustainably will help these octopus fishing communities gain access to long-term social, environmental and economic benefits.  

SWIOCeph uses the MSC framework and tools to engage and support stakeholders and octopus fishing communities in working towards more sustainable fishing practices. Additionally, the project provides a platform for stakeholder engagement and collaboration.

Where is it taking place?

SWIOCeph works with octopus fishing communities in Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Comoros, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mozambique, Mauritius and South Africa.

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

How does it work?

SWIOCeph follows a four-stage process.

  • Information on fishing practices, stock status, landings and trade are used to map the octopus fisheries in the south-west Indian Ocean region.
  • Selected fisheries are pre-assessed by independent assessors against the MSC’s Fisheries Standard and areas of improvement identified.
  • Stakeholders use the pre-assessments to develop action plans by collaboratively identifying ways to improve fishery practices toward sustainability.
  • The action plans are then implemented by stakeholders through fishery improvement projects (FIPs).

Progress to date includes the production of a mapping report; five country-level pre-assessments and one regional pre-assessment; and the independent development and implementation of an action plan by stakeholders in southwest Madagascar.

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), the African Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and WWF-Sweden.

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. WWF-Sweden provided funding for ongoing stakeholder engagement and collaboration work.


Find out more

SWIOCeph Brochure 2020_English
Date of issue: 30 September 2020
SWIOCeph Brochure 2020_French
Date of issue: 30 September 2020
SWIOCeph Brochure 2020_Portuguese
Date of issue: 12 October 2020

Contact us

Andrew Gordon

Andrew Gordon

Fisheries Outreach Manager - Southern Africa

+27 21 5510 620

Email Andrew

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