Fishing is one of the most highly profitable sectors across the globe and, the tuna industry alone is worth about $10 billion globally.
Surveys of Somali waters indicate that there are extensive fish stocks off Somalia’s coast – this coast is, in fact, considered to be one of the richest fishing grounds in the region.
Many valuable species live in the waters off the coast of Somalia as seen in data by the Sea Around Us Project, which analyses and studies the effect of fisheries on marine ecosystems around the world.
The Horn of Africa country with Africa’s longest coastline invited China to its shores and gave fishing licenses in late December 2018.
Somalia arranged fishing licenses for up to 31 vessels to China to exploit tuna and other species off its coast to tap the sector for economic growth as the Somali authorities claim.
The vessels are related to the China Overseas Fisheries Association, a distant-water trawling group created in 2012 to promote the East Asian giant’s competitive fishing edge abroad.
Chinese ships have been allowed to operate for a period of one-year in Somalia’s coast, with the agreement specifying that there will be an automatic renewal for an additional year.
Foreign fishing vessels will also not be permitted to operate between 44 kilometers to the seaward side of the Somali baseline and the Somali baseline in order to protect small-scale fishing operations.
Upon entering or leaving Somalia’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the boats will also have to declare their positions, besides the weight of catch on board by species.
Somalia’s 3,330 kilometers of coastline, probably the longest in Africa, remains the country’s most untapped resource since 1991, the start of the Somali civil war and the subsequent collapse of the central government of Somalia.
Because of poor infrastructure, domestic fresh fish consumption is limited to coastal areas, which has restricted access to fish for a large portion of the Somali population.
This is an addition to the lack of familiarity with fish among Somalis.
Source: Daily Sabah