1 December 2012

Somalia - Puntland Government Bans Foreign Fishing Vessels in Puntland Waters

Garowe, Somalia — Puntland's Minister of Fisheries Mohamed Farah Adan stated that fishing vessels from neighbouring countries have been banned to fish in Puntland waters, Garowe Online reports.

Minister Adan who spoke to Radio Garowe said that the Puntland Ministry of Fisheries has banned all fishing vessels that fish in Puntland waters, after a growing number of vessels without proper registration were found in Puntland waters.

The Minister also stated that the Puntland coast guard has been deployed into Puntland waters to protect the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). EEZ is a sea zone authorized by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea that gives the country exclusivity on their waters up to a certain boundary.

Somalia's EEZ is 12 nautical miles relative to most developed countries that stretch to 200 nautical miles.

According to analysts, foreign fishing vessels in Puntland and Somali waters have capitalized on the lack of government in Somalia to take over Somalia's fisheries industry by monopolizing prices of fish catches in Somali waters.

According to Zakaria Abdirahman a Somali piracy and fisheries analyst, Somali waters are home to vessels as far away as China and North Korea to exploit the lack of regulation and lack of sophisticated export of fish caught in Somali waters.

"After Somalia's government collapsed in the 90s, the former centralized fishing industry was in shambles and independent Somali fishermen teamed up with companies from abroad to export fish at exploiting prices, damaging the fishing industries recovery even further," said Mr. Abdirahman.

"It doesn't help that fishing vessels from neighboring countries such as Yemen and Oman buy fish from Somali artisanal fishermen and sell it as a product found in their waters," continued Mr. Abdirahman.

In October, Puntland government was notified of a Iranian flagged vessel with no registration from the Puntland government, fishing in Puntland waters.

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