The director of Puntland’s Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Abdiwahid Jocar, said they will issue unique identity cards to fishermen.
“The fishermen have suffered a lot because they have been unable to distinguish themselves from the pirates and because they are all Somalis and look alike,” Jocar told Radio Ergo’s local reporter in Garowe.
He said the new ID cards would be funded by the ministry and would stop innocent fishermen from being mistaken for criminals.
“We are going to record all the necessary information relating to the fishermen including his family’s identity and their residence and then give the IDs that no-one else can make,” Jocar said. “They will show these cards to the international naval forces across the sea as proof of identity.”
There are 58 coastal towns across Puntland populated by families mainly involved in fishing. The ministry is to send its staff to these towns to gather fishermen’s information and record it in a secure database before the ID cards are produced.
The move stems from a series of consultations and conferences between local authorities and foreign governments involved in the EU Naval Force anti-piracy patrols in Somali waters.
The Puntland fishermen are also to be issued with GPRS equipment that will be connected to their boats to make it easier to find if a boat gets lost at sea.
“We will give each boat a unique identification number and GPRS equipment that will make it easier to track and help if a lost boat is reported,” said Jocar.