At the ceremony, Mr Mathiesen said it is “a clear signpost in the history of SWIOFC; a new path just opened for all of us”. On behalf of the Government, Víctor Manuel Borges said that the signature of this Agreement is “an important step that shows Mozambique’s commitment towards the regional cooperation in fisheries”.
Until now, SWIOFC’s Secretariat was located in Harare, Zimbabwe. The country is home to the FAO Sub-Regional Office for Southern Africa but it is not a Member of the Commission. SWIOFC is composed of such costal states, which are FAO Members, whose territories are situated wholly or partly within the area of the Commission. Currently it has twelve Members: Comoros, France, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Seychelles, Somalia, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, and Yemen.
The move of the Secretariat to Maputo occurs after the proposal by the Mozambican Government to host it. For Aubrey Harris, SWIOFC’s Secretary since the establishment of the Commission, this move represents “an opportunity to increase the involvement of the partner countries in the Commission’s work”; it is also “an important commitment from both sides, since it has been promoted by all Member states”.
Apart from signing the Host Agreement, FAO’s Assistant Director-General for Fisheries and Aquaculture will take part in the launching ceremony of the office in an Extraordinary Session of SWIOFC. On Thursday, Mr Mathiesen will attend the State ceremony during which the new Fisheries Museum shall be inaugurated.
SWIOFC was established in 2004. Its main objective is to promote the sustainable utilization of the living marine resources of the South West Indian Ocean region by the proper management and development of the living marine resources without prejudice to the sovereign rights of coastal States and to address common problems of fisheries management and development faced by the Members of the Commission.