Regional Small-scale Fisheries Governance Training Program: Creating an Enabling Environment for the Small-scale Fisheries Guidelines

IOI-SA is partnering with the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) in developing a 5-day training program in regional small-scale fisheries governance for Africa.

The Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-scale Fisheries in the Context of Food Security and Poverty Eradication (SSF Guidelines 2014) promote governance reform in order to create food security and poverty eradication in small-scale fishing communities. The capability to implement the SSF Guidelines varies within States and regions, as do national policies and small-scale fisheries governance strategies.  Many States have poor awareness and recognition, capacity, co-ordination and institutional structures to effectively implement many of the fundamental values that the SSF Guidelines seek to promote.

The training program therefore aims to contribute towards creating an enabling environment for the implementation of the SSF Guidelines, through capacitating practitioners to address key small-scale fisheries governance issues using holistic and participatory methods. It also aims to strengthen capacity at national and regional levels, by creating increased awareness, facilitate institutional linkages and the development of good governance frameworks. The training is being developed in conjunction with regional experts, with the pilot training event expected to be held in Cape Town 2021. The pilot course will invite small-scale fisheries practitioners from a number of African countries who are currently working with the FAO on implementation of the SSF Guidelines in their countries.

Ending Plastic Pollution in South Africa by 2030: Fact or Fiction?

PETCO and IOI-SA gathered together plastic experts to try unpack some of the myths and mysteries around these issues in a panel discussion that was open to the public and media. The discussion took place on the 12th of March 2020. The experts included Peter Ryan  (University of Cape Town), Douw Steyn (Plastics|SA), Aaniyah Omardien (The Beach Co-op), Anthony Ribbink (Sustainable Seas Trust), Alison Davison (City of Cape Town), Suzan Oelofse (CSIR), Cheri Scholtz (PETCO) and Chandru Wadhwani (Extrupet). The discussion was facilitated by IOI-SA Director, Adnan Awad. The panelists were asked to highlight some of the plastic myths that they have come across and what message they would like the audience to take home. To find out more about the discussion, please click here: PETCO/IOI-SA Plastic Forum March 2020.

plastic mythsplastic take home


2020 Course in Ocean Governance for Africa

Applications are now open for the 2020 IOI-SA Course in Ocean Governance for Africa. The course will run from the 7th September to 2nd October 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa. Find you application form and more information on the Course Page. 


The course is a unique opportunity to join the growing network of IOI Ocean Governance Ambassadors in Africa.


Applications will close on the 19th April 2020 and no late applications will be considered. Spaces are limited. Partial funding is available on a competitive basis and only to participants from Africa.

STRONG High Seas Training

Participants from South Africa, Namibia, Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Gabon, Benin, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and Liberia met in Cape Town on the 27th and 28th November, 2019, to discuss the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) negotiations that are taking place in New York. The workshop was the first of two that will be run by STRONG High Seas Project partners, the International Ocean Institute – African Region, in collaboration with BirdLife International.


The workshop aimed to bring together representatives from the Abidjan Convention countries, with an interest in the BBNJ negotiations that are taking place in New York, to learn from each other and have a better understanding of the importance of the negotiations for Africa, and how they can contribute to the negotiations at a national and regional level.

To find out more about the workshop, please see the STRONG High Seas Capacity Development Workshop Report.


The presentations from the workshop are included below:

  1. Introduction to the High Seas
  2. The STRONG Project – an introduction
  3. Introduction to the BBNJ Negotiations
  4. South Africa and the African Group’s perspective
  5. ABNJ and the Southeast Atlantic Region
  6. Abidjan Convention and BBNJ


WIOGEN Kick Off Conference

The Western Indian Ocean Governance Exchange Network (WIOGEN) kick off conference at the Maru Maru Hotel in Zanzibar on the 7th and 8th November 2019. The conference, co-hosted by WIOMSA, was attended by 40 delegates from South Africa, Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, Seychelles, Mauritius, Germany and Australia.


WIOGEN is designed to be inclusive and dynamic, with ideas for publications, trainings and exchanges coming from its members and being put forward to the steering committee for funding. The work of WIOGEN is organised under three themes or working groups: 1) Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture; 2) Marine Spatial Planning and Coastal Management and 3) Biodiversity Conservation, Habitat Loss and Pollution. Adnan Awad highlighted how the working groups would be a communication platform amongst members within thematic areas and would identify areas of focus, capacity and networking needs. The working groups would be responsible for producing output in support of the gaps and needs that they identify and in turn be supported by WIOGEN through training workshops and scientific exchanges as well as a science to policy event and closing conference.

WIOGEN Kick Off Meeting Team, November 2019

WIOGEN welcomes new members, anyone is welcome to join by completing the survey. The link and all presentations from the Kick Off Conference can also be found on the WIOGEN website. We welcome input and suggestions from all WIOGEN members and all those active in the Western Indian Ocean Region

WIOGEN project launch

wiogen3IOI-SA, together with our partners at Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT), were at the WIOMSA Symposium in Mauritius to launch the West Indian Ocean Governance and Exchange Network – WIOGEN. The network is an opportunity for knowledge exchange and capacity building in the West Indian Ocean region. It complements other regional marine science networks by focusing explicitly on ocean and coastal governance – bridging the social and marine sciences. There are three broad themes under which a series of exciting scientific exchanges, publications and training schools will be developed:

  • Nutritional Security, sustainable fisheries, aquaculture and livelihoods
  • Marine Spatial Planning and Coastal Management
  • Biodiversity conservation, pollution and habitat loss.

Check out to find out more

Ship’s Biofouling in Port Louis Harbour – Mauritius

Adnan Awad explaining the sampling procedure

IOI-SA joined the multi-stakeholder team, lead by the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping in Mauritius this July to investigate biofouling on ships in Port Louis. Biofouling is the attachment and growth of non-desirable organisms on the submerged surfaces of ships’ hulls. The growth of organisms not only slows down ships, resulting in an increase in fuel costs, but is also an important way in which the introduction of alien, invasive species to new areas can occur. It is therefore an ecological and economic threat to Ports. This was the second field visit for the project and included sediment sampling and sampling of hulls in Port. This project includes a large team from multiple organisations, including the Mauritius Oceanographic Institute, Shipping Division, Mauritius Ports Authority and National Coast Guard.

Processing of samples

Coast Guard Divers investigating the submerged hull

Science for Solutions: Bringing Stakeholders together to Improve Ocean Planning and Governance in ABNJ

The STRONG High Seas Project gathered in Cape Town with representatives from countries, NGOs and academia for the second dialogue workshop about Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction. This workshop was organised in conjunction with the UN-WCMC ABNJ Deep Seas Project and included representatives from all around Africa and was held in partnership with both the Abidjan and Nairobi Secretariats.

Some of the STRONG High Seas Project Team in Cape Town, June 2019

The importance of the inherent connectivity of the ocean and how commercial activities in the High Seas can impact on coastal livelihoods and overall ecosystem health was reiterated while participants worked to tackle the complexity of how to conserve biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction – given the current fragmented governance systems. The workshop highlighted the role of regional organisations in this arena and was dove-tailed with a meeting of the ABNJ Technical working group for the Abidjan Convention.


Developing WIOGEN

This week, IOI-SA was in Langebaan, on the West Coast of South Africa, for a meeting to develop a new project, WIOGEN: Western Indian Ocean Governance Exchange Network. The project is an exciting opportunity to work with our partners at Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) in Bremen towards building capacity for ocean governance in the Western Indian Ocean Region.


We also had the opportunity to meet the rest of the teams working on proposals for the MeerWissen project, funded through BMZ and managed by GIZ. It was fruitful meeting for sharing ideas and suggestions on six exciting proposals that will benefit African marine research, sustainable resource use and good ocean governance.

MAMI WATA Project visits


The IOI-SA is one of the three Centers in Expertise for the “Enhancing Marine Management in West, Central and Southern Africa through Training and Application” Project. In January and February of this year (2019) we have visited the three pilot countries – Benin, Ivory Coast and Ghana – to understand their capacity needs for implementing Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) as part of the Mami Wata project.