30 Mar 2017 - A first of its kind project will provide African fishers with a benchmark for sustainable octopus fishing Government representatives, fisheries managers, private sector representatives and octopus fishers operating in the south western Indian Ocean (SWIO) have committed to collaborate in a new project supported by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Africa Union Interafrican Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) and Blue Ventures.
The project will use the MSC Fisheries Standard to benchmark the sustainability of octopus fishing in the region. It will then identify opportunities to support stakeholder efforts to improve the sustainability of these fisheries in Madagascar, Kenya, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Mozambique, Rodrigues and Comoros, among others.
This will be first time that the sustainability of octopus fishing has been comprehensively mapped across multiple African countries and offers conservation and market opportunities.
The importance of octopus in the Western Indian Ocean Artisanal fishing for octopus, mainly Octopus cyanea, has been practiced for centuries in the SWIO.
Octopus are an important resource for many coastal communities, especially in Tanzania, Madagascar, Rodrigues and Mozambique, and are both consumed locally and sold for export to Europe with the first octopus fishery achieving MSC certification in early 2016 (Western Asturias trap octopus fishery, Spain), interest in sustainably sourced octopus is growing.