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Lack of local skills holding back Somalian fishery’s ‘vast potential’

Somalia has a potential annual fishery production of 800,000 metric tons, said the study by the country’s Heritage Institute for Policy and City University of Mogadishu

Jul 12th 2020 · 1 min read
Lack of local skills holding back Somalian fishery’s ‘vast potential’

With more investment Somalia's fishing industry could be "one of the largest and most profitable in the world", according to a new study, reports the East African.

Somalia has a potential annual fishery production of 800,000 metric tons, said the study by the country's Heritage Institute for Policy and City University of Mogadishu. However, only a small fraction is currently caught by Somali fishing vessels. 

The most serious challenge is a shortage of skilled workforce, finds the study, called Somalia Fisheries: Untapped Potential Held Back by Skills Shortage. While the fishing industry supports the livelihoods of up to 400,000 people, those directly engaged in fishing tend to be small-scale, artisanal fishers. 

An estimated 56% of fish caught within Somalia's exclusive economic zone is, instead, caught by foreign fishing vessels, some of which operate illegally.

"On June 30, non-governmental organization Global Fishing Watch released a report that indicated that roughly 200 Iranian fishing boats operating illegally had been detected in waters off Somalia and Yemen. Also traced was a smaller subset of Indian, Pakistani and Sri Lankan flagged vessels," noted the article.

Meanwhile, in February of last year, the Somalia government and vessels tied to the China Overseas Fisheries Association signed a fishing deal that caused an uproar among artisanal fishing communities, who argued that it would destroy their livelihoods.

The deal allowed 31 Chinese longline vessels to fish for "tuna and tuna-like species" for one year, but automatically renewed fishing licenses for just over $1 million each year.

last updated: 2020-07-12@10:07