Monday, March 6, 2023 (HOL) – Somalia’s Ministry of Fisheries said that evidence received from the fisheries monitoring center shows that many fishing vessels from foreign countries are fishing illegally in Somali waters.The ministry said the evidence indicates that the vessels have been operating in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) since January 2023.
“This represents a major threat to our fishing laws, fish stocks and the ongoing concern for the economic development of food security in the marine environment of the country,” said a statement from the Ministry of Fisheries of Somalia.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy of the Federal Government has confirmed that all the fishing vessels were fishing illegally, and that there is no agreement regarding access and fishing license that they had with the Federal Government of Somalia.
“With reference to Articles 11, 12, 13 of the Somali Fisheries Law and Article 54 of the Constitution, the granting of fishing licenses to foreign vessels is a constitutional authority for the Federal Government to grant foreign fishing permits. It can only be issued by the Minister of Fisheries. and the blue economy of the Federal Government,” the statement of the ministry also said.
The ministry said that it has established procedures, rules and regulations that define the legal requirements and procedures for the issuance of foreign fishing permits, and it has clarified that the so-called approval letters are not legal for fishing in Somali waters.
The Ministry of Fisheries has ordered all foreign vessels operating illegally in Somali waters to immediately leave Somalia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and comply with international law. The ministry pointed out that this law makes it mandatory for vessels that illegally fish in Somali waters to pay compensation for the fish they have illegally taken from the EEZ. If not, she said the Somali government will punish and prosecute them.1