Federal Republic of Somalia
On the 22nd May 2014, the Federal Republic of Somalia became the 32nd Member of IOTC, paving the way for better management of highly migratory species in the waters of Somalia.
The waters off the coast of Somalia are highly productive, due to the coastal upwelling caused by the Somali current, forming prime tuna fishing grounds. However, twenty-two years of civil war have limited the benefits Somalia has gained from exploitation of these resources. The only fisheries currently active are small-scale, artisanal fleets operating in the coastal waters catching IOTC species on an opportunistic basis, mainly for local consumption. Somalia is recovering from this period of instability and the Federal Government of Somalia, in place since September 2012, is working with regional administrations to increase the contribution of marine resources to the country. Indian Ocean Tuna Commission membership is a significant step towards this objective, so the Commission have welcomed the Federal Republic of Somalia as the newest member of the IOTC.
In April 2014, the Federal government of Somalia and its regional administrations met in Seychelles and agreed that industrial licenses to fish for tuna and other pelagic species in the Somali EEZ would be issued by the Federal Ministry, in consultation with regional administrations, and that the revenue from these licenses would be shared between them. Following this, on 30th June 2014, the president proclaimed the delimitation of the Somali EEZ as per the UNCLOS, another important step that will allow Somalia to issue licenses to foreign fishing vessels targeting tuna and tuna-like species in its waters.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources leads Somalia’s involvement in IOTC and Somali Ministries are now working with FAO Somalia and other international agencies to develop comprehensive catch and effort monitoring. The experience gained by Ministries as they are trained to implement IOTC data collection and reporting activities will assist them as they work with coastal communities to increase benefits from inshore fisheries. Ministries are also working with international agencies to develop the infrastructure required to maximise benefits from Somalia’s rich fisheries resources and to contribute to the elimination of pirate activities. This includes participation and cooperation in the ongoing international efforts to combat piracy in the IOTC area of competence such as the work undertaken by EUCAP NESTOR which aims to assist with development and provide self-sustainability for continued enhancement of maritime security in the western Indian Ocean . This coordinated regional action helps to ensure the protection of all fishermen from piracy, enabling them to carry out fishing activities which contribute substantially to national economic revenues.