11 June 2014

Somalia: European Union, Oxfam Launch Support Programme for Somali Fisheries

The European Union and Oxfam on Tuesday (June 10th) launched a three-year programme to support artisanal fisheries production, processing and trade, and related coastal management in Somalia.

The project is part of a $6.8-million programme that will be initially implemented in the Somaliland region and federal state of Puntland, and eventually will be expanded to other Somali regions if it becomes successful.

The Somaliland component was launched Monday in collaboration with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and local agency Havoyoco.

"This project will contribute to the development of the fisheries sector and will support the technical capacity of the ministry and the entire fishing industry," Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Ali Jama Farah said.

The programme aims to improve capacity building at the ministry, educate local institutions on fisheries technology and marine resource management, develop a licensing system, and establish and implement quality control standards.

"Somali waters are home to some of the richest fishing grounds in Africa, with vast potential for fisheries and coastal area development," the EU said in a statement. "However the sector remains underdeveloped due to lack of skills among fishermen to go deep into sea water, lack of tools (boats and fishing gears) and lack of regulatory frameworks."

Other elements include establishing a market information sharing network, educating the public on the health benefits of fish and fish products, conducting environmental assessments in the coastal zones, and working towards adhering to the Basel Convention on the disposal of hazardous waste.

"This project will improve lives for fishermen and their families as well as that of the wider community through easier access to fish and sea products," said Omer Abdillahi, executive director of Havoyoco. "They will also enable the government to strike a balance between enabling and regulating the fisheries sector, to ensure sustainable fishing for future generations."

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