Résumé: Coastal and island states of the Western Indian Ocean lack scientific and management capacity to draw sustainable benefits from their Exclusive Economic Zones. Declining ecosystem services and unregulated fishing has prompted nine riparian countries to develop a regional framework for capacity building and scientific development towards collective management of shared resources. Supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Agulhas and Somali Currents large marine ecosystems programme consists of three inter-related modules, supported by different agencies: land-based impacts on the marine environment (UNEP); productivity, ecosystem health and nearshore fisheries (UNDP) and transboundary shared and migrating fisheries resources (World Bank). The latter is the South Western Indian Ocean Fisheries Project (SWIOFP), a 5-year joint data gathering and fisheries assessment initiative. SWIOFP is a prelude to long-term cooperative fisheries management in partnership with the newly established FAO–South Western Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC). We describe the development of SWIOFP as a model of participatory regional scientific cooperation and collective ocean management.
© 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.