Sabahi (Washington, DC)

2 December 2012

Somalia: Puntland Bans Foreign Vessels Fishing in Its Waters

Foreign vessels will no longer be permitted to fish in Puntland's waters, Somalia's Garowe Online reported Saturday (December 1st).

Minister of Fisheries Mohamed Farah Adan said his ministry has banned all fishing vessels, as a growing number of vessels without proper registration have been found in Puntland waters.

The Puntland Coast Guard has been deployed to protect the UN-sanctioned Exclusive Economic Zone, which extends 12 nautical miles from Somalia's shores, he said.

Foreign countries have taken advantage of Somalia's unregulated seas to fish in its waters unhindered, said Somali piracy and fisheries analyst Zakaria Abdirahman. "After Somalia's government collapsed in the 1990s, the formerly centralised fishing industry was in shambles and independent Somali fisherman teamed up with companies from abroad to export fish at exploiting prices, damaging the fisheries' recovery even further," he said.

"It does not help that fishing vessels from neighbouring countries such as Yemen and Oman buy fish from Somali artisan fisherman and sell it as a product found in their waters," he said.

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