SOMALI FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MEETS WITH REGIONAL GOVERNMENTS TO DISCUSS LICENSING FOREIGN FISHING VESSELS

Tuna purse seiner fishing in the Indian Ocean. Photo credit: Jiri Rezac, Greenpeace.

On April 18, the newly appointed Somali federal Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources met for the first time with ministers from each of the Regional Member States to make progress on licensing foreign fishing vessels. Representatives of both the Fisheries and Finance ministries assembled to discuss mechanisms and modalities for collecting license fees from foreign vessels and how to distribute that revenue within the government. A new International Partner (IGO/NGO) Fisheries Working Group was introduced to the ministers as a resource for the development of offshore fisheries management. USAID, Secure Fisheries, and the World Bank represented the International Partner Working Group at this meeting and joined the discussion to lend support. Director Kaija Hurlburt represented Secure Fisheries. In Somali waters, foreign vessels catch up to three times as much fish as the Somali domestic fleet, and licensing fees collected from registered vessels could contribute several millions of dollars to the Somali government.