The Somali Media for Environment, Science, Health and Agriculture (SOMESHA) convened a remarkable Consultative forum for Somalia Fishing Industry Strategies in Mogadishu, the capital city of Somalia on December 21, 2014 in collaboration with The Coalition for Fair Fishers Arrangement (CFFA).
Geographically, Somalia sovereignty territorial waters up to 200 nautical miles; with coast line of 3333 its economy mainly depends on agriculture, livestock, forestry and fisheries. The Fisheries are mainly engaged in lucrative commerce from enclave along the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean as far south as to the coast of Kismayo.
This meeting story idea comes after when a workshop for East African investigative journalists and researchers that was take place at Kilifi district in Kenya on 20-21 of November, 2013 jointly organized by the Coalition for Fair Fishers Arrangement (CFFA) and the Community Action for Nature Conservation in which Mr. Daud Abdi Daud of SOMESHA attended and discussed with Mr. Andre Standing of CFFA who heads Kilifi gathering program.
The forum participants are coming from different backgrounds with various organizations working within the fishery sector including the Transfish Cooperative Company, Somalia Seamen Union, Coastal Development Organization (CODO), Bulay Development Organization (BUDO), Somalia Awareness Club (SAC), Dayah-PRADA Umbrella and the field officials from the environment department of Somalia, office of the prime minister as they together discussed and described that Somali marine resources are estimated at an annual catch of 300,000 tones of fish and 10,000 tones of crustacean. The actual annual catches at the present are only about 2000 tones, 450 tones of lobster, 100 tones of shark, and 20 tones of shrimp. The market for all fish is consumed locally. and lobster is exported to abroad by national and international companies.
The participants have discussed about the current state for Fisheries professionals of Somalia as they were very few priors to the civil war. Lack of professionalism regarding fish, fishermen, and fisheries, and the run-down degree of sectarian influences, in which extends all the way down to the day-to-day operation levels and mostly agreed what is needed is a cadre of multi-discipline, intellectuals willing to communicate to solve the problems, create free atmosphere for fisheries professionals, and artisanal fisheries, and encourage more production and training. The most communities are lacking skilful participants due to financial and security constraints.
It was widely understood and agreed that Somalia coastal communities still remain extremely poor and their ability to maximize income from fisheries is limited by insufficient access to credit, unfair trade arrangements, and lack of basic infrastructure. Small-scale fishing are also under unsustainable, meaning the abundance of fish is decreasing and fishers spend more time catching less due to security reason while Somalia maritime have experienced piracy attacks.
Most fishing boats used in Somalia are wooden outboard motor Boats and rowboats. These boats catch most of fish with gill nets, lines & hooks, trolling lines, short pelagic longlines, and hand lines, drift nets, purse seine. They are owned by individual fishing families. There are about 1,000 in the country. Somalis are proficient in their manufacture and maintenance. These boats are rowed while some are outboard motors. There are also about 400 small fiberglass boats 6-10 meters long.
Fishing farming in Hiiraan region is one of the economic activities of the people and estimated about a third of the population depend on fishing farming sustenance n as occupation many young men have taken up this activity after they have understood its benefit.
The river shabeele had attracted the youth throughout the region; the activity itself is based on small scale farmers who can only afford to get a few boats. There are fishermen who do have boats and catch fish using ropes, this activity have benefited the region as many settlements had sprung up around the fishing area. Pastoralists who also lost their livestock had settled in this region and taken up either fishing or farming activities small business centers have also been established in these settlements.
The forum participants agreed to request the Coalition for Fair Fishers Arrangement (CFFA) to take a close look and raise what the Kenyan government is doing over Somalia offshore territorial waters. As Kenya has spent much of the past decade drumming up a non-existent offshore border dispute in the hopes of capturing approximately 120,000 square kilometres of what is thought to be resource rich southern Somali waters. Somalia seamen union and the entire participants underlined and discussed in-depth that in 2012, The East African Energy Forum (EAEF) shed light on and challenged the attempt by Kenya to lease oil blocks in Somali waters to foreign companies from France, Italy, Norway and the US.
This national level Consultative forum for Somalia Fishing Industry Strategies and the call from the participants towards Kenya government intervention on Somalia maritime comes after when the Federal Government of Somalia issued a proclamation statement for Somalia Exclusive Economic Zone and in which was extends its distance two hundred (200) nautical miles on June 30, 2014 and signed by the president of the Federal Republic of Somalia H. E. Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and was widely disseminated.