MOGADISHU (SD) – Somali government has vowed to launch operations to hunt illegal fishing vessels in the country’s waters barely a year after 112 100 Iranian vessels were accused of carrying out fishing illegally in Somali waters.
According to a 2020 report by the Somali government, between January 2019 to 14 April 2020, the Iranian fishing vessels were identified transmitting on automatic identification system (AIS) transponders from within the Somalia EEZ for a total of 2533 days.
On Tuesday, Somalia’s Attorney General Suleiman Mohamed Mohamud has warned that the country will seize ships fishing illegally in its waters.
He blamed unnamed foreign nations and private companies for making lives of small fisher communities difficult.
“Illegal fishing in Somalia is a national disaster and one of the biggest catastrophes to Somalia’s resources,” he said, noting that Somalia’s marine resources remain untapped.
A report by the campaign group Secure Fisheries in 2017 said up to 2.4 million tones of fish have been caught in Somali waters illegally in the last 60 years.
Somalia formally licensed 31 Chinese fishing vessels in November 2018 at a cost of $2.5 million under the new fisheries law.