Somaliland: “Illegal Fishers shall Face the Music if Caught”-Fisheries DG

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By: Yusuf M HasanFisheries DG Ilkaase

HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The government is determined towards the beneficial exploitation of its marine resources.

This ministry of fisheries and marine resources is consolidating commercial activities within Somaliland’s territorial waters especially as pertains to the deterrence of illegal fishing by international concerns.

This was informed by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine resources Director General-DG Mohamed Elmi Aden ‘Ilka’ase’ in his Hargeisa offices where he also revealed that plans are in final stages towards availing local fishermen and fishmongers maximum returns and sustainable livelihoods from their trade.

Said he, “The government is intent on protecting national marine resources through the enforcement of relevant laws thus deter unauthorized harvesting by foreign owned vessels”

As he informed that the ministry of interior has put the coast guard in high alert within the country’s territorial waters DG Ilka’ase asked local fishermen to assist with information pertaining to any dubious vessels or behavior they observe at sea.

“By supporting the government protect national water fishermen will not only participate in the prevention of piracy but illegal fishing as well thence increase their daily haul’ said the fisheries DG

Revealing that the government is not only soliciting foreign investment in the sector but markets as well the fisheries official said that the success of these objectives depends on the round the clock availability of abundant marine products which require regulated harvesting.

Said he, “Although we license non-Somaliland fishing concerns, the contract specifies the type of equipment, species and quantities allowed for harvesting within a given and specific duration or season”

In elaboration DG Ilka’ase who revealed that the ministry of fisheries has a supervisor onboard every licensed vessel said that the conditions attached to the contract are geared towards ensuring that equipment used does not damage the life cycle of marine life.

Though Somaliland remains unrecognized as a sovereign country 22 years after pulling out of its fateful voluntary union with Somalia thus devoid of bilateral aid or loans for development, it has managed through stringent surveillance to minimize incidences of illegal fishing in addition to keeping its waters piracy.

Though the promotion of a sustainable fishing industry has seen a surge in the recent past especially its prioritization by the World Bank funded Somaliland Business fund and fisheries investment opportunities by Pontus Marine a Diaspora owned company.

At the same time the government in Hargeisa recently affirmed its ownership of territorial waters which it said were in entirety firmly in its control while issuing a stern warning against any infringement in reaction to reports that a contract by the Somalia Federal Government in Mogadishu has mandated Rotterdam-based Atlantic Marine and Offshore to set up a coast guard operation geared towards combating piracy and to strengthen its, SFG, control over its territorial waters and natural resources.

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