Somali Fisheries Urgently Need Better Data

Fish in Cold Storage
Fish wait for transport at a cold storage facility in Berbera, Somaliland. Photo by Jean-Pierre Larroque / One Earth Future

New research shows official reports of fish catch in the waters around Somalia and Somaliland significantly underestimate true catch. A new study by Secure Fisheries’ Sarah Glaser and Paige Roberts, in collaboration with lead author Tim Cashion and others at the Sea Around Us at the University of British Columbia and the University of Western Australia, and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, shows the amount of fish taken from Somali waters over the past six decades was 80 percent higher than reported by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization on behalf of Somalia. The lack of a central government until 2012, loosely organized fishing collectives throughout the region, and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing by foreign fleets contributed to this underreporting. The study is an update to prior estimates of domestic catch by Sea Around Us and foreign catch by Secure Fisheries. Underreporting of fisheries data provides an incomplete picture of the sustainability and health of Somali fisheries, while undermining the economic importance of fisheries to domestic livelihoods and markets.

Press Release from Sea Around Us
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