Welcome to WIOFish, the Western Indian Ocean (WIO) Fisheries Database that provides you with direct access to a suite of parameters relating to hundreds of fisheries in the WIO region. By using the extracting facility you can generate reports that will provide you with:
A better understanding of biological and socio-economic aspects of fisheries in the region, including ‘"non-traditional", lesser-known species; Insight into the monitoring of fisheries, including by-catch and an ecologically representative sample of other species; Information relating to management systems, policy, legislation, governance and institutional capacity in place for the fisheries; An appreciation of the level of development of sustainable and appropriate livelihoods (fishery and non-fishery based).
WIOFish is a truly collaborative programmes developed to meet specific needs. It was initiated under the auspices of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) through its NORAD funded WIO Jakarta Mandate programme (2000-2004). The Project's overall goal was to promote the protection of the Eastern African marine and coastal biodiversity and the sustainable exploitation of the resources in order to maintain ecological integrity and equitably provide quality goods and services. The project was implemented in WIO countries of the Nairobi Convention, including South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya, Seychelles, Madagascar, Mauritius, Comoros, Somalia and Réunion (France). The Jakarta Mandate recognizes that sustainable management of fisheries is critical to conservation of marine biodiversity, and this is captured in the second theme of the Mandate which states that “"Marine and coastal resources to be used and managed more sustainably in the Eastern Africa Region".
It was clear from the outset that there was a lack of detailed information and understanding of small-scale fisheries that are so common in the WIO region. This state of affairs was seen to compromise biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. In response the WIO Marine Biodiversity Conservation Project was developed, including WIOFish, designed to provide a better understanding of biological and socio-economic aspects of fisheries in the WIO region. This provides a regional overview of inshore, especially small-scale fisheries (and associated offshore fisheries that impact on them), including their problems and specific management needs. The database enables comparisons of policy and management strategies among these fisheries. It also provides semi-quantifiable indicators of the status of, and progress in, the management of these fisheries which increases the understanding of the threats to biodiversity of the WIO fisheries.
A network of institutional collaborators was established from Seychelles, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa to develop an information profile which captured the diversity of species composition, research, technological and management characteristics of the coastal fisheries. The completion of the profile by the collaborating institutions provided a useful first description of these fisheries and also identified areas where data were lacking for each fishery. The original information profile was then developed into a Microsoft Access database to facilitate data entry and management and to aid subsequent analyses.
The MS Access database was found to have some restrictions in the dissemination and use of the database. Since one of the objectives was to allow easy access to all interested parties, the decision was made to move the database to an Internet based system. The Blue Box Company was contracted to convert the MS Access database to a MySQL database and develop a user interface with their proprietary software. Funding of this stage of the project was generously provided by the Trust Fund for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development administered by the World Bank. This two-year cycle of funding enabled the finalisation of the new database structure and the inclusion in the database of updated records for the fisheries of the five countries involved.
It was always the intension of the WIOFish project to extend the number of countries involved but these plans were placed on a wish list due to the financial constraints of the project. In 2009, WIOFish received funding from the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Project to update the fisheries included in the database and to develop the user interface into French. Additional funding was provided to include three more countries of the region: Mauritius, Comoros and Madagascar. The fisheries of Mauritius were added in early 2010 and those of Comoros and Madagascar were added in 2011.
The database is designed to be dynamic, live and evolving, and accessible through the world wide web (www.wiofish.org). It is managed and updated by a regional node, in close collaboration with the national nodes. Presently, the regional node is the Oceanographic Research Institute (ORI) from South Africa which has led the development of the database. The national nodes are the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI), the Institute of Marine Sciences (IMS) in Tanzania, the Instituto de Investigação Pesquiera (IIP) in Mozambique, the Seychelles Fishing Authority (SFA) in Seychelles, Albion Fisheries Research Centre in Mauritius and the Ministère de la Production Direction Regionale de la Peche Mohéli in the Union of Comoros.
The database provides a useful forum for addressing fishery stocks that transcend international boundaries, as well as a useful scientific base for the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC) set up by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO). It is intended that the database will provide a strong basis for improving fisheries management, promoting research particularly on stock assessments, and improving fisheries monitoring.