Four deep sea fishing vessels secure licence to operate in Indian Ocean

Four foreign deep sea fishing vessels have been granted a license to use the Tanzanian flag to conduct deep water fishing within the Indian Ocean.

The Director of Research, Training and Extension Department in the Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries Prof Mohammed Sheikh said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that each licence costs about 70,000 US dollars and may be renewable each year depending on the performance.

“The initiative looks to increase fish catch for improving the average of fish uptake for Tanzanians to meet international standards, promote blue economy, create jobs and transfer marine skills to local populations,” he said during handover of fish Bycatch by a Spanish based company.

He was speaking during the handover of 100 tonnes of fish Bycatch to the government from Pacific star, a Spain based fishing company that is operating in using Tanzanian flag and has a subsidiary office in Zanzibar.

“Last week we granted a licence to four fishing vessels to use our flag and conduct deep sea fishing in the Indian Ocean. The licences also requires that such companies sell locally part of their fishing including they Bycatch which is set to minimise gap of fish intake in the country and promote trade,” he said.

Prof Sheikh added that the license has been granted after Pacific star (locally registered as Pemba Tuna) recorded success in fishing nearly 100 tonnes of Bycatch of other fish species and was ready to sell other 300 tonnes of tuner fish in the local market where local traders my sell them to Tanzanians and outside.

“An individual Tanzanian is estimated to consume an estimated 8.5 kilogrammes of fish a year, against 20 kilogrammes recommended internationally.

The incoming of licensed fishing vessels would increase the number of fish, narrow such a gap and hence, promote economic development and food security,” Prof Sheikh observed.

On his part,  Mr Imanol Loinaz the Fleet Director of Albacora company which owns pacific star vessels  said that his company was working and mentoring local seamen for skills transfer and that future plans is to set up a fish processing factory in Tanzania.

“We have visited some areas in Zanzibar, Kilwa, Tanga and Dar es salaam region where we are analyzing suitable areas for possibly establishing a processing factory in the near future,” he said.

The event was graced by Mr Suleiman Masoud Makame, the Minister for Blue Economy Fisheries of Zanzibar revolutionary government.



Cape Verde: 'Let's All Become the Champions the Ocean Needs' - UN Chief Guterres

On the last day of his visit to Cabo Verde, UN Secretary-General António Guterres addressed the Ocean Race Summit Mindelo, saying that "ending the ocean emergency is a race we must win."

"And by working as one, it's a race we can win. Let's all become the champions the ocean needs. Let's end the ocean emergency and preserve this precious blue gift for our children and grandchildren," urged the UN chief.

The Secretary-General was speaking from the Ocean Science Centre Mindelo, in São Vicente, a state-of-the-art facility that hosts large marine scientific equipment such as deep-sea robots, as well as electronics workshops, and cutting-edge laboratories.

On Monday morning, as the building opened its doors to the participants of the Summit, it served as a visible manifestation of the bet Cabo Verde is making on boosting the archipelago's blue economy.

Today, Ulisses Correia e Silva explained, "it represents tourism, desalinated water, blue economy, submarine fiber optic cables, clean energy, biotechnology, aquaculture, canning industry for export, a competence center and nautical events such as the Ocean Race."

 'The ocean is a matter of survival'

 Speaking to UN News, the UN Special Adviser on Africa, Cristina Duarte, noted that as Cabo Verde is a 10-island chain that sits off West Africa's Atlantic coast, some 99.3 per cent of the nation's territory is water.

 Ms. Duarte, who is Cabo Verdean, was the country's Minister of Finance, Planning and Public Administration from 2006 to 2016. "We might be more creatures from the ocean than from the land," she said. "For Cabo Verde, the oceans are a matter of survival."

 "So, its conservation [must be done] in a context of management of a natural resource, because we have to take from it what Cabo Verde needs to develop. Preserve it, but not forget that, for Cabo Verde, it is an economic resource," Mrs. Duarte explained.

 Racing for the ocean

 The Ocean Race first set sail in 1973, taking sailors around the world every three or four years.

 For the last four decades, as ocean health activist Danni Washington noted today at the Summit, sailors would see these islands on the distance, or race through the middle of them. Sometimes they were even rescued by Cabo Verdeans, but the race had never made a stop in the archipelago.

 On Friday night, the country became the first ever West African nation in the competition's history to host a stopover.

 Addressing the Summit, the competition's Chairman, Richard Brisius, assured the UN Secretary-General of the participants' commitment to the cause of the oceans.

 "You have all of us at Ocean Race in your crew," he said. "We are ocean people; we care for the ocean, and we are passionately doing our best."

 For his part, the Mr. Guterres hailed "the inspiring courage of women and men sailing this grueling six-month race around the world."

 Moreover, he said, it's "also inspiring" to know that every boat is carrying special equipment to gather scientific data to help ensure a healthy ocean for the future.

A key resource at risk

For the UN Secretary-General, the Summit was also an opportunity to sound the alarm: "The ocean is life. The ocean is livelihoods. And the ocean is in trouble."

 The UN chief explained that some 35 per cent of global fish stocks are over-exploited, global heating is pushing ocean temperatures to new heights, fueling more frequent and intense storms, rising sea levels, and the salinization of coastal lands and aquifers.

 "Meanwhile, toxic chemicals and millions of tons of plastic waste are flooding into coastal ecosystems - killing or injuring fish, sea turtles, seabirds and marine mammals, making their way into the food chain and ultimately being consumed by us," Mr. Guterres stated.

 According to UN estimates, by 2050, there could be more plastic in the sea than fish.

 From 'super year' to 'super action'

 Against this backdrop, the Secretary-General does believe the world took some important steps to correct course last year.

 These advances included a "historic agreement" in Nairobi to negotiate a globally binding treaty to control plastic pollution, the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, where countries made hundreds of new voluntary commitments and pledges, and the UN Biodiversity Conference in Montreal, that ended with countries agreeing on a target to protect 30 per cent of land, water, coastal and marine ecosystems by 2030.

 "Some have called 2022 the ocean's 'super year.' But the race is far from over. We need to make 2023 a year of "super action," so we can end the ocean emergency once and for all," noted Mr. Guterres.

 For the UN chief, the world needs urgent action in four fundamental ways: sustainable maritime industries; delivering massive support for developing countries; winning the race against a changing climate; and, lastly, deploying science, technology and innovation on an unprecedented scale.

 Turning to the finance sector, Mr. Guterres said that "developing countries are victims of a morally bankrupt global financial system, designed by rich countries to benefit rich countries."

 "Bias is baked into the system. It routinely denies developing countries - particularly vulnerable middle-income countries and Small Island Developing States like Cabo Verde - the concessional financing and debt relief they need," he argued.

To fight climate change, Mr. Guterres called on ocean-based industries to follow the lead of the Ocean Race and limit their carbon footprints. As an example, he said that the shipping sector must commit to net zero emissions by 2050, and present credible plans to implement it.

 Closing the event, the UN chief participated in a Relay4Nature ceremony, receiving a baton, which started travelling around the world in May of 2021, passing hand to hand, from one ocean advocate to another, as a symbolic call on world leaders to radically increase their ambitions to protect the seas.

 The initiative started with the UN Special Envoy for the Ocean, Peter Thomson, was then passed the 'Nature Baton' to politicians like French President Emmanuel Macron, celebrities like Jason Momoa, and arrived in Cabo Verde by boat, all the way from Alicante, in Spain, in the hands of Boris Herrmann, the skipper of Team Malizia.

 As he held the iconic baton, the Secretary-General said that he represented "a generation thar has largely failed the oceans."

 Before handing it to Odara dos Santos Brito, a student from Liceu Jorge Barbosa, in São Vicente, Mr. Guterres said he was "very, very grateful" that he could give it to a generation that he trusts to "reverse the wrongs that we did, rescue the oceans, defeat climate change, rescue the planet and rescue us all."

Accepting the baton, the young Cabo Verdean didn't flinch. "We accept that commitment," she said.




AFRICA: FAD fishing for tuna will be restricted in the Indian Ocean

Meeting in Mombasa, Kenya, from 3 to 6 January 2023, the member countries of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) took a major step towards limiting industrial fishing for tuna and all marine life. The text adopted establishes an annually renewable three-month ban on drifting fish aggregating devices (FADs). This technique has caused an 80% decline in tuna stocks over the past fifty years, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Indian Ocean states, including Comoros, Madagascar, Seychelles, Kenya and Indonesia, have agreed to temporarily suspend the use of drifting fish aggregating devices (FADs). This industrial fishing equipment is causing the world’s tuna stocks to plummet by 80% over the past 50 years, according to a recent study by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

The new measure was adopted by 16 votes out of 23 at the meeting of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), held from 3 to 6 January 2023 in Mombasa, Kenya. The adopted text establishes an annually renewable three-month ban on drifting fish aggregating devices (FADs).

Fish aggregating devices (FADs)

As explained by the conservation organisation Greenpeae, a FAD is a raft made up of an assembly of floating objects extended underwater by nets or ropes. FADs naturally attract fish and have been used by artisanal fishermen for thousands of years.

Unfortunately, this technique has been taken over and “improved” by the fishing industry, particularly in tuna fishing. FADs are now accompanied by GPS and satellite beacons that allow the position of each FAD to be tracked in real time, along with depth sounders that allow fishermen to know the volume of fish around the device. Above all, it is the increase in the number of FADs deployed by vessels that makes the situation out of control.

This is not the same as the coastal communities that survive on their artisanal fisheries. While an artisanal fisherman brings in a few kilos of fish after each trip, a tuna boat can bring in over 100 tonnes of tuna with one net.

EU opposes new FAD resolution

The temporary suspension of the use of FADs in the Indian Ocean is not to the liking of the European Union (EU), which has already threatened to oppose the new Ctoi resolution. If the EU were to do so within the next 120 days, the resolution would not apply to its vessels.

For Anne-France Mattlet, head of the tuna group of the European shipowners’ union Europêche, “the adoption of India’s proposal on FADs would be catastrophic”. The European tuna lobby argues that the use of FADs has several advantages. They ensure food security and safety by alleviating the scarcity of reef and lagoon resources, they save fuel by making it easier to access the resource. They guarantee safety at sea by reducing the distances travelled on the high seas in search of schools of fish and by focusing on more restricted fishing areas. They also make it possible to preserve reef-lagoon resources by transferring fishing effort to the more abundant pelagic resources.




Training course on remote sensing applied to oceanography, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 21-25 November 2022.

The Centre Universitaire de Recherche et d'Application en Télédétection – CURAT (Université Félix Houphouët-Boigny, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire), in collaboration with the UNESCO/IOC’s Sub Commission for Africa & the Adjacent Island States (IOCAFRICA) are organizing a “Training course on remote sensing applied to oceanography” to be hosted by CURAT in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire from 21-25 November 2022.

 This workshop aims to give trainees a first-level training in remote sensing applied to the field of oceanography, and will cover the following topics:

  • Principles of remote sensing
  • Application of remote sensing to oceanography
  • Processing satellite imageries for the ocean and coastal environment
  • Fundamental principles of remote sensing by drone and initiation and acquisition of data from drone

 Applications should be submitted ONLINE not later than 20 October 2022 at the following link:

Please note, the submission will include the following attachments

  • Letter of motivation,
  • Detailed CV, and
  • Letter of support from Head of Institution in either Word document or PDF formats.

Limited resources will be available to provide travel support (Airticket, accomodation and meals).

Preference will be given to applicants from West Africa when selecting those to receive the support.

Vacancy: Head of the IOCAFRICA Secretariat

Post Number: 6KEIOC0012RP

Grade: P-4

Parent Sector: Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC)

Duty Station: Nairobi

Job Family: Programme Coordination

Type of contract: Fixed Term

Duration of contract: 2 years, renewable

Recruitment open to: Internal and external candidates

Application Deadline: (Midnight Paris Time): 17-FEB-2023

UNESCO Core Values: Commitment to the Organization, Integrity, Respect for Diversity, Professionalism


Overview of the functions of the post

Under the overall authority of the Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) and the direct supervision of the Head, IOC Marine Policy and Regional Coordination Section (IOC/MPR), the incumbent is responsible for leading the Secretariat for the IOC Sub-Commission for Africa & the Adjacent Island States (IOCAFRICA).

These activities operate through the advice and actions of numerous expert teams, inputs across IOC programmes related to Ocean Science, Ocean Observation and Services, Tsunami, Capacity Development, and Marine Policy - a complex landscape requiring team building skills, cooperation and good internal and external communication.

 The incumbent works within the frameworks of UNESCO's Medium Term Strategy (C4s), the approved Programme and Budget (C5s), the IOC Medium Term Strategy, IOC Assembly and Executive Council decisions/resolutions, the IOCAFRICA Biannual Workplan, and other international/UNGA resolutions as well as global development plans relevant to the ocean such as Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the SAMOA SIDS Pathway, UNFCCC Paris Agreement and overall UNCLOS provision relevant to the mandate of the IOC.

 In particular, the incumbent will: 

Long Description

1.       Advance the work of IOC and engage current and potential members and partners in the region within the framework of the IOC. Lead, coordinate, and facilitate the development and implementation of IOC Medium-Term Strategy and Programme and Budget, and global programmes related to ocean research, sustained ocean observations and services, the development of science/policy interface, the generation of scientific knowledge to support sustainable ocean management and capacity development in the region. 

2.       Exercise leadership and strategic thinking in developing, planning and implementing IOC programmes/activities responding to the existing and emerging priority needs and specific interests of Member States in the region and support the implementation of IOCAFRICA workplan as defined by the Sub-Commission. 

3.       Pursue partnerships and resource mobilization opportunities with governments, other UN agencies, the research, development and donor communities, with a view to implementing IOC Medium-Term Strategy, the IOC Capacity Development Strategy and programmes in the region and contributing to the attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

4.       Facilitate the coordination of regional activities in support of the UN Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development focusing on engagement of ocean stakeholders from science, policy, industry and civil society, the convening of regional task groups, supporting the design of Decade Actions, and identification of capacity development needs.

5.       Ensure the smooth functioning of the Regional Secretariat, oversee the Secretariat’s human resources and their performance, prepare and monitor the budget for the Sub-Commission including extrabudgetary contributions, in line with UNESCO’s policies and procedures and Represent IOC, the Sub-Commission and UNESCO at the UN and other partner organizations’ intergovernmental and technical meetings, as appropriate. 

COMPETENCIES (Core / Managerial)

Communication (C)

Accountability (C)

Innovation (C)

Knowledge sharing and continuous improvement (C)

Planning and organizing (C)

Results focus (C)

Teamwork (C)

Professionalism (C)

Building partnerships (M)

Driving and managing change (M)

Strategic thinking (M)

Making quality decisions (M)

Managing performance (M)


For detailed information, please consult the UNESCO Competency Framework.




  • Advanced university degree (Masters or equivalent degree) in Oceanography, Marine Science, or related field. 


Work Experience 

  • A minimum of 7 years of progressively relevant professional experience in the field of ocean management and capacity development, of which preferably 4 years acquired at international level.
  • Experience in coordinating, managing, and implementing projects or programmes.
  • Experience in managing staff and teams.


Skills and Competencies

  • Good knowledge of ocean management and capacity development in the region.
  • Excellent analytical skills, including the ability to identify complex issues, and decide on ways forward respecting the constraints of the organizations involved.
  • Demonstrated strategic thinking and change management skills.
  • Strong programme management skills.
  • Very good communication skills (oral and written) with proven ability to make effective and persuasive oral presentations to both technical and general audiences.
  • Proven ability to advocate and negotiate with colleagues, staff, and stakeholders at all levels, internal and external, including building and maintaining partnerships.
  • Ability to lead and empower teams and maintain effective working relationships in a multi-cultural environment.



  • Excellent knowledge and drafting skills in English and working knowledge of French.


  • Ph.D. in Oceanography, Marine Science, or related field. 
  • Fundraising and resource mobilization experience.
  • Knowledge of other official languages of UNESCO (Arabic, Chinese, Russian or Spanish).


UNESCO’s salaries consist of a basic salary and other benefits which may include if applicable: 30 days annual leave, family allowance, medical insurance, pension plan etc.

The approximate annual starting salary for this post is 107,405 US $.

For full information on benefits and entitlements, please consult our Guide to Staff Benefits.


Please note that all candidates must complete an on-line application and provide complete and accurate information. To apply, please visit the UNESCO careers website. No modifications can be made to the application submitted.

The evaluation of candidates is based on the criteria in the vacancy notice, and may include tests and/or assessments, as well as a competency-based interview. 

UNESCO uses communication technologies such as video or teleconference, e-mail correspondence, etc. for the assessment and evaluation of candidates.

Please note that only selected candidates will be further contacted and candidates in the final selection step will be subject to reference checks based on the information provided.


UNESCO recalls that paramount consideration in the appointment of staff members shall be the necessity of securing the highest standards of efficiency, technical competence and integrity. UNESCO applies a zero-tolerance policy against all forms of harassment. UNESCO is committed to achieving and sustaining equitable and diverse geographical distribution, as well as gender parity among its staff members in all categories and at all grades. Furthermore, UNESCO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Candidates from non- and under-represented Member States (last update here) are particularly welcome and strongly encouraged to apply. Individuals from minority groups and indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality. Worldwide mobility is required for staff members appointed to international posts.

UNESCO does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process.

Creatures that crossed an ocean to find India


You will most likely see lemurs in a Hollywood animation movie; singing, dancing and playing pranks. In the wild, they are found only on the island of Madagascar, which, to naturalists has always been a place of intriguing creatures.

Many life forms in Madagascar have affinities to lineages found in India (3,800 km away) rather than Africa (413 km). This posed a ‘difficult enigma’ to naturalists.

Zoologist Philip Sclater was perplexed by the presence of lemurs, their relatives, and their fossils in Madagascar and India, but not in nearby Africa or the Middle East. In the 1860s, he proposed that a large island or continent must have once existed between India and Madagascar, serving as a land bridge. Over time, this island had sunk. He called this proposed island Lemuria.

Sclater’s hypothesis fascinated occultists such as Helena Blavatsky, who thought that this had to be the place, now lost, where humans originated.

Tamil revivalists such as Devaneya Pavanar also took up the idea, in the form of a Tamil civilisation, lost to the sea as described in literature and in Pandyan legends. They called this submerged continent Kumari Kandam.

Continental drift

Sclater’s ideas lost favour when another ‘outlandish’ theory, of continental drift, began to gain acceptance. In plate tectonics, the large rocky plates that we stand on float on molten subterranean rocks and move 2-15 cm per year relative to each other. A landmass called Gondwana, split into two 165 million years ago — one containing what is now Africa and South America, the other comprising India, Madagascar, Australia and Antarctica.

Around 115 million years ago, Madagascar and India together broke free. Around 88 million years ago, India moved northward, dropping a few parcels of land along the way to form Seychelles. It joined the Eurasian mass 50 million years ago giving rise to the Himalayas and South Asia that we are familiar with.

Around 115 million years ago, it was the dinosaurs that ruled. Many life forms had not even evolved. Supporting the Gondwana breakup, dinosaur fossils found in India and Madagascar are closely related, and do not resemble species found in Africa and Asia. Fragments of  Laplatosaurus madagascarensis have been found in both India and Madagascar.

Molecular clocks

A powerful technique, the molecular clock, is used to estimate the time when two forms of life diverged from each other. It is based on the observation that evolutionary changes in the sequence of an RNA or a protein molecule occur at a fairly constant rate. The difference in the amino acids of, say the haemoglobin of two animals can tell you how long ago their lineages diverged. Molecular clocks corroborate well with other evidence, such as the fossil record.

South India and Sri Lanka have only two genuses of the cichlid family of freshwater and brackish-water fishes — the  Etroplus (a food fish in Kerala, where it is called pallathi) and  Pseudetroplus. Molecular comparisons show that the nearest relatives of Etroplus are found in Madagascar, and their common ancestor diverged from African cichlids 160 million years ago. A fourth group is in South America, thus, accounting for the fragments of Gondwana.

India’s pivotal position

India occupies a pivotal position in the distribution of life forms in Asia, Madagascar and Africa. Gondwana creatures moved out of India. Others crossed over to stay. For example, Asian freshwater crabs ( Gecarcinucidae) are now found all over Southeast Asia but their most recent common ancestor evolved in India. The frog family, Sooglossidae, is found only in India and the Seychelles (Datta-Roy and Karanth,  Journal of Biosciences, 2009).

Fossil finds in the Vastan lignite mine in Gujarat by researchers from HNB Garhwal University, Panjab University and Johns Hopkins University have identified the earliest Indian mammal, a species of bat, and the earliest euprimate, a primitive lemur. These were dated 53 million years ago, around the time (or just before) the India-Eurasian plates collided ( Journal of the Paleontological Society of India, 2005).

What about the lemurs? Madagascar is a large island, with a variety of climatic conditions. Evidence favours an ancestor primate crossing over from Africa. No monkey, ape or large predator managed the crossing, so dozens of lemur species proliferated.

In India, we have the lorises, which are the closest extant relatives of the lemurs. These are shy, nocturnal forest dwellers, with large, appealing eyes. They are also believed to have survived oceanic rides from Africa. They are mostly found in the Northeastern States (slow loris), and where Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu meet (slender loris).

( The article was written in collaboration with Sushil Chandani who works in molecular modelling. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)