SIODFA has developed an ongoing working relation with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). This started in July 2006 when the joint declaration was made announcing the SIODFA benthic protected areas in the Southern Indian Ocean. This unique development was the first instance of an industry group voluntarily agreeing to set aside areas in which they would not fish for conservation reasons. Any new potential members of SIODFA must agree to respect this programme.
The common interest for sustainable deepwater fisheries lead the IUCN and SIODFA to subsequently enter into a cooperation agreement aimed at developing and promoting means for the long-term sustainability of deep-sea fish stocks; minimising the impact of fishing activities on the marine environment and other species; and conservation measures such as protected areas. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in September 2009 and this saw the election of a SIODFA representative to the Programme Steering Committee of the IUCN programme to apply an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management for biologically- globally significant and commercially-important areas beyond national jurisdiction in the southern Indian Ocean, focusing on seamounts. This joint programme is continuing.
The Southern Indian Ocean seamounts project of the IUCN is financed by Global Environment Facility and implemented by United Nations Development Programme.
Represents the interests of deep-sea fishing operators of the southern Indian Ocean by promoting responsible management of the fisheries of the SIO and the conservation of deep-sea biodiversity.