Somalia: Dozen foreign trawlers arrive Bosaso Port amid concerns of marine exploitation
BOSASO, Puntland- Foreign fishing trawlers were reported have reached Bosaso Port recently in an attempt to secure fishing licenses from Puntland government amid public concerns of marine resource depletion and illicit fishing practices that affected the livelihood of local fishermen, Garowe Online reports.
Ministry of Fishing and Marine Resources in Puntland state issues licenses to vessels and trawlers in return for fees that is undisclosed to the public, however, this unregulated process has only facilitated illicit fishing practices that damaged marine resources.
Close sources tell GO that those trawlers owned by companies in South Korea and Thailand are holding talks with officials from Ministry of Fishing and local businessmen to reach a deal on the fishing licenses, but dispute on the fees has halted the process.
He added that Minister of Fishing, Abdi Nur Elmi Mahmoud, State Minister of Fishing, Abdirahman Aw-Jama Kulmiye, and the Director of Ministry of Fishing, Ali Hirsi and other state officials are part of the deal.
“Those officials are associated with illicit activities that provoked exploitation of marine resources in Puntland,” said the source who spoke under a condition of anonymity. Other top Puntland officials are believed to have links to the illegal fishing activities that endangers natural marine resources of the state.
It’s noteworthy that in September 2016, Puntland government has announced the ban of lobster trade in the region, which considered a lucrative trade for local fishermen, whereas foreign trawlers continued to carry out fishing activities in the territorial waters.
Previously, Puntland President Abdiwali Mohamed Ali “Gaas” has blasted illegal fishing and called it “natural disaster”, nevertheless his government lacked actions and policy to counter illegal fishing.
On the other hand, local fishermen in coastal town have been complaining about illegal fishing vessels that undermined their livelihoods following surge of unlicensed fishing vessels in the past 3 years. They demanded Puntland government to ban foreign trawlers that intimidate local fishermen, a situation that prompted earlier the spark of piracy off the coast of Somalia.
illegal fishing has spiked following the collapse of central government in 1991, which led many foreign vessels to exploit marine resources amid absence of strong government control over the territorial waters.