Somalia successfully receives a $65,000 fine from the fishing vessel, Greko 1
The U.S. government commends the collaboration demonstrated between the Kenyan and Somali authorities in securing action against the fishing vessel, Greko 1. The owners of the Belize-registered, Panamanian-vessel were fined for illegal and unreported fishing in Somali waters and have paid an amount of $65,000 directly to the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS). The vessel is currently mooring in the Mombasa port and was detained in Mombasa until payment of the fine.
U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Stephen Schwartz explained, “The United States Government congratulates the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) in their efforts to reduce illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in Somalia. The recent inspection of the Greko 1, and subsequent payment of the fine, demonstrates to the international fishing community that Somalia is committed to protecting its natural resources. The strong coordination between the Federal Government of Somalia and the Kenyan authorities represents the pinnacle in international collaboration necessary to combat illegal activities. We particularly applaud the actions of FGS Deputy Minister Said Jama, who ensured a transparent and speedy resolution to this affair through the personal contacts he had developed through the Fish-i-Africa network”
In October of this year the vessel was detained in the Mogadishu port with an estimated 30 tons of frozen fish. After an inspection by the MFMR, supported by a FISH-i Africa international inspector, it was fined for possession of forged authorizations and licenses to operate in Somali waters; fishing in Somali waters within 24 nautical miles of the coastline; not providing catch reports; and for the use of banned fishing gear, specifically trawling gear, prohibited under the Somali Fisheries Law.
The vessel illegally departed Somali waters and attempted to enter the Port of Mombasa. Having been alerted by the FGS MFMR that the vessel may attempt entry, the vessel was detained by the Kenyan Authorities who assisted Somali Officers to make a further inspection in Mombasa. The Somali Federal Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources along with Kenyan authorities worked tirelessly with the vessel owners to develop an agreement ensuring payment of the fine to the Somalia Federal Government. This collaboration was critical to the successful outcome of the case, demonstrating inter-government cooperation at its best. This feat comes within just a few months of Somalia becoming a member of the FISH-i Africa network, which is committed to combating large-scale illegal fishing in the Western Indian Ocean. FISH-I Africa provided substantial support to both Somali and Kenyan authorities throughout the inspection.
USAID’s Growth, Employment, Enterprise and Livelihoods activity (GEEL), is now working with the Greko 1 to evaluate potential routes for the vessel to fish legally, creating sustainable jobs and revenue that Somalia so badly needs.
Since 1991, Somalia has struggled to protect its fishery resources. Foreign fishing vessels have exploited the Somalia Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), threatening the livelihoods of Somali coastal communities, advancing degradation of Somalia’s marine ecosystems and depleting key fish stocks.
The collaborative efforts of the Kenyan and Somalian authorities demonstrates a significant step forward in the efforts to reduce illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing in Somali waters.