The Iranian navy alleges that Somali fish were stolen despite severe food shortages

The Iranian navy alleges that Somali fish were stolen despite severe food shortages


A large fleet of Iranian fishing vessels has been found to have been trafficking in Somali waters for over a year, with one in three declining fish reserves in a country with food shortages.


The Somalia government, unable to police its vast coastline, expressed concern over food and sea security and called on Iran to investigate.

Analysis of Global Fishing Watch, a nonprofit organization that tracks ships, and provides non-governmental organization TrivigMat Tracking Fishery Intelligence and Analytics to help African coastal states fight illegal, unregulated, and unproven (IUU) fishing, is one of the largest. Illegal fishing activities in the world.


The Somali government has shared its analysis with Iranian authorities and the Fishery Watchdog, the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC).

Evidence gathered by NGOs suggests that the Iranian fleet has 192 vessels, six times more than the 31 ships of Chinese tuna licensed to fish in the waters of Somalia.

They say the Iranian navy will operate in Somalia and Yemen from January 2019 to April 2020. Fisheries have been found within the zones reserved for artisanal fishermen in the country.

His Highness Somalia's Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Abdilahi Bidhan Warsaw has called for cooperation from Iran. He said: “Illegal fishing in Somalia is not tolerated. The situation of the Iranian navy's presence in the waters of Somalia has long been a concern for the Federal Republic of Somalia, and illegal, unlicensed, and fishing in Somali waters has led to food security, economic development, sovereignty, and marine ecology. Somalia. "

Somalia's 15 million people are currently facing many threats to food security, including the desert plague and past droughts, which have led to flash floods and Kovid-19. The United Nations has warned 2.7 million people facing a crisis of food insecurity without humanitarian assistance while stressing 2.9 million meals.

The 2,000-mile coastline of Somalia is the largest in Africa, but years of civil war and instability have made its waters impossible to police. It is plagued with IUU fishing, which claims to promote piracy.

Starting in 2018, the country, which is part of the workforce of East African countries, is part of Africa, where the IOTC and NGOs that collaborate with IUU Fishing receive m1 million annually from fishing licenses sold to China. Thirty-one Chinese vessels have a license to fish beyond 25 miles.

TMT chief analyst Duncan Copeland said he was aware of illegal vessels in the area, but that his analysis was made possible by the increased use of collision avoidance software by Iranian ships, indicating that it was "moving at scale.".

"We are seeing a large number of ships," Copeland said. "It's not going to handle any management plan. It's too much fishing for the area. It's going to cancel the shares."

Although reports of widespread illicit fishing in Somalia by Iranian and other ships have been known for some time, this level is not yet known. Vessels in the region have begun to use the Automatic Identification System (AIS) on their boats and gear, which also allows them to track satellites.

Copeland said ships that mostly sailed for Iran were operating illegally. He flagged down a small number of ships to Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka.

"According to Somali law, ships licensed for tuna must be licensed by the federal government. There are no vessels."

"It is not clear what fishing gear they are using, but there are indications that they are using drift nets. This results in a huge amount of barrette and is a big knock."

Charlie Kilgore, director of Fisheries Analysis at Global Fishing Watch, said foreign ships are close to shore, an area reserved for Somalia's local fishermen.

"Some ships are very close to villages and appear to be anchored. We see boats fishing on the shore. This has an impact on domestic fishing. The number of ships and fishing days - 2,533 days - will definitely affect the stock."

"They try to be consistent and it goes on. It sucks all the effort."

"We hope that Iran and Pakistan will join Somalia and the IOTC and work to resolve it."

TMT AIS rapidly verifies data with satellite images of the region. Satellite images reveal the presence of large numbers of ships, some using AIS, others not, and leading analysts believe that the actual number of ships can exceed 192.

IOTC Executive Secretary Christopher O'Brien said in a statement: "The IOTC Secretariat is not an investigative work. The case is currently between Somalia and the Islamic Republic of Iran."

The task of the IOTC is to send information and intelligence from a third party to the IUU fishing allegations on the flag status of each ship. The flag state's duty is to investigate and report to the IOTC within 60 days if requested by another state.

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