Faced with a marked increase in fishing on the high seas, six countries and the EU have signed an agreement covering a vast area of the South Indian Ocean in what a United Nations official has hailed a major step forward in conservation and sustainable fishing. The Comoros, France, Kenya, Mozambique, New Zealand and Seychelles and the EU produced the accord, the South Indian Ocean Fisheries Agreement, following two days of talks last week. It cover areas of the high seas where no such organization or arrangement currently exists…
The accord seeks to ensure long-term conservation and sustainable use of fishery resources other than tuna in areas outside national jurisdictions. It calls for effective monitoring, annual reports on the amounts of captured and discarded fish, and inspections of ships visiting ports of the Parties to verify they are in compliance with SIOFA. It will join the existing network of fishery commissions already established such as the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission.

It is hoped that other countries will soon join the Agreement, which will enter into force once FAO, its legal depositary, receives the fourth instrument of ratification, including at least two from coastal states.

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