By: Yusuf M Hasan
BERBERA (Somalilandsun) – The government is set to ensure that fishing is undertaken as per the law.
This was revealed by the Director General in the ministry of fisheries Mr. Mohamed Elmi Ilka’ase’ at the port of Berbera after a fishing vessels inspection tour.
The DG who accompanied by the Sahil regional government and port officials conducted a thorough inspection of three Egyptian fishing trawlers that are licensed to operate with the country’s deep waters in the Gulf of Aden.
“Our inspection was particular to ascertaining the type of fishing tools used as well as the type and quantity of fishes the three trawlers have captured in our waters “Said the DG
According to fishing license agreements, foreign trawlers are obligated to use a particular type of fishing tools in addition to being limited to the species and quantity of fishes to net.
The fisheries administrator informed that from now henceforth all licensed foreign fishing trawlers will have a ministry employee on board to ensure that contractual agreements are adhered to.
Said he, “Having local personnel on board foreign fishing trawlers is a strategy to help protect our marine resources”
Following the fact, finding tour the three Egyptian trawlers have been approved for continued fishing activities within the country’s water after it was ascertained that all tools and netted fish were within contractual agreement.
While this is the first inspection of licensed fishing trawlers, illegal fishing is still rampant and the government needs to do more to change the status quo.
In April this year the European Commission said it was ready to investigate and take action against any European boats or European-owned fishing companies that fly flags of convenience that engage in illegal fishing in the Gulf of Aden as well as off the coast of Somalia.
The EU indicated that one way this could be achieved would be via Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) and that the commission had already tried to tackle the issue of tracking down illegal fishing boats near these waters at the international level.
With such sentiments coming out of Brussels it is clear that illegal fishing which is directly attributed to piracy is rampant thus the imperative need for action which might include strengthening the Coast guard.
Another strategy which is a tall order considering the unrecognized status of Somaliland would be for the government to seek membership first at observer level in Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) and the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) for starters.