As the fishing infrastructure is built up and more Somalis are drawn to the industry, more weight will be given to their concerns. In the latest iteration of the two countries’ relationship, the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) granted fishing licences to 31 Chinese vessels to exploit tuna and tuna-like species off its coast in a bid to tap the sector for economic growth. In July 2018, COFA signed an MoU with the Ministry, outlining the terms and conditions for the operation of fishing vessels within Somalia’s EEZ. “There will be two government personnel onboard every vessel of the Chinese fleet,” the minister said. They say it will be difficult to regulate and could lead to overfishing, but their concerns appear to be driven largely by a lack of transparency and communication nationally, and confusion over the nature of the fishing practices. Stig Jarle Hansen, professor of international relations at the University of Life Sciences in Oslo, told RFI: I don’t see any credible Somali control mechanism emerging in the foreseeable future. Attitudes towards naval forces are much more positive in areas where they hav… Searching for solutions to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, Stemming the tide of plastic and other waste in the ocean, Addressing our rising seas and acidifying ocean, Protecting and restoring marine ecosystems, China’s taste for swim bladder is pushing the species to the brink in Lake Victoria, Rapid expansion and poor regulation of China’s distant water fishing fleet is adding to the strain on global fish stocks, Scuttling illegal vessels is reducing illegal activity but better cooperation with China is needed, A freelance journalist based in Nairobi, Abdalle Ahmed Mumin has written for the, China’s distant water fishing fleet growing unsustainably, How tough policing is restoring Indonesia’s fisheries. Somalia has the longest coastline of any African nation. But this coastline is not safe due to illegal fishing and dumping of hazardous waste. The Siad Barre government, which had taken power in a coup in 1969, fell in 1991, plunging the nation of 10 million into civil war. But minister Bidhan said the government will deploy its own personnel onboard the Chinese vessels to ensure the companies adhere to the terms of the contract, which includes not exploiting other sea resources. We needed some laws and regulations to protect the local fishers first,” Roble said. Existing fishing laws in Somalia are thought to be weak, but they do ban trawling. Officials in Somaliland, an independent region in northern Somalia, have rejected the Chinese fishing deal with the government in Mogadishu, saying that it does not cover their waters. The Somali minister of fisheries, Abdillahi Bidhan, signed a deal in December 2018, in which Chinese companies paid a total of US$1 million to fish 24 nautical miles from shore within Somali waters off north-east Africa. AfricaAsiaNational SecurityChinadebt trap diplomacyfishingOne Belt One RoadSomalia. It might reorganize them, reenergize them to engage in these criminal activities again. Local lawyers and fishermen have raised concerns over a tuna fishing deal between the Somali government and a consortium of Chinese companies. China gets fishing rights in Somalia amid deadlock over revenue sharing. Dr. Mumbi Show 27,431 views. “Chinese vessels have poured into African waters to get nice seafood for trade, degrading fish stocks.”. A new fishing deal signed between the Somalia government and vessels tied to the China Overseas Fisheries Association raises serious questions. Indeed, a lot of the countries in East Africa that haven’t experienced a civil war don’t fully control their offshore territories, either. The Chinese Offshore Fishing Association (COFA), was the only entity to express interest in licenses. Russia Signs Deal With Sudan for Naval Base on the Red Sea. Now if they come to Somalia, they will ruin the local fishers and destroy our waters,” he said. The deal is explicitly for longline fishing, not the more destructive trawling method that has come to be associated with overfishing in other regions. In the long term this deal is not benefiting Somalis,” Hasan added. Somali fishing communities have expressed concerns that a “debt trap diplomacy”-linked deal between their government and China has granted Beijing a license to exploit their livelihoods legally, Radio France Internationale (RFI) reported this week. Officials in Somaliland, an independent region in northern Somalia, have rejected the Chinese fishing deal with the government in Mogadishu, saying that it does not cover their waters. Illegal fishing by foreign vessels was characterized as the fundamental grievance that sparked piracy and provides ongoing justification for it 3. Essential findings from interviews with Somalis living near the coast were as follows: 1. Critics of the deal reportedly claim China promised to rebuild a seaport in Mogadishu using money that Beijing loaned to Somalia in exchange for the fishing rights. Lack of economic opportunity was identified as the principal driver of pirate recruitment 2. Somali fishermen are also concerned that the deal will ultimately foment piracy in the region. SHARES. Although the international community was fully informed, the government was reluctant to declare the full terms of the contract, according to Mohamud Nur Hasan, a member of parliament’s sub-committee on fisheries and natural resources, who also represents fisheries communities in the Lower Shabelle region in the southern part of the country. Secure Fisheries, a U.S.-based program that works with post-conflict regions to strengthen governance and combat illegal fishing, recently warned: Competition between foreign and domestic fishing for declining resources can lead to the increased occurrence and intensity of conflict between the fleets. Local fishing communities operating from Mogadishu’s Liido beach were worried about their catch, but as they do not typically venture beyond 24 miles of the coast and target different fish species, it is unlikely that the deal would materially affect them. China-Somalia fishing deal may revive sea piracy Posted By: Jibril Qoobey March 13, 2019. Some Somalis, particularly those in the fishing community, worry that their livelihoods will be gutted, while others fear a … Anyone applying for a tuna licence must go through the requisite process upon which we will inspect their vessels,” Bidhan said. Tags: China fishing, Somalia, Somali pirates, China-Somalia relations, China-Somalia fishing deal A major concern raised by local fishermen is the type of fishing equipment that will be used in Somali waters. And into this 3,330-kilometer-long void—the longest coastline in continental Africa—foreign fishing fleets swarmed. The deal has made local fishermen vulnerable to poverty as Chinese fishing companies are likely to outcompete them and also trigger another round of … Somali lawmaker Mohamed agreed with the NGO’s assessment of the negative impact the Chinese deal will have on local fishing communities, telling RFI: There are small-scale fishing communities that have been suffering from the illegal fishing that has been taking place in our high seas; if you add that to the fact that they have the legal right to exploit our resources, then I think that we will even suffer more. While West Africa continues to suffer from overfishing, their fishing area is much greater, made up of many different countries, and therefore harder to regulate. … Not only does this pit local fishers in competition against each other, it increases the chances that a Somali vessel will encounter a foreign one, increasing the likelihood of conflict. Abdirahman Omar Hassan, a Mogadishu-based environmental activist and lawyer, says lack of ecological protection and the government’s weak or ineffective policies make it difficult to manage the fishing sector. RFI acknowledged that it reached out to the Somali Fisheries Ministry for comment, to no avail. However much of these deepwater tuna would travel through Somalian waters to be caught in international waters, whereas under this deal the country gets a revenue not otherwise available. In December 2018, the Somali government granted fishing licenses to 31 vessels tied to the China Overseas Fisheries Association for one year, with the ability to renew the agreement each year. However consultation is not good between government and communities and there are strong disagreements between states. Local people are concerned about the tuna agreement and the authorities’ ability to monitor the catch. “It’s shocking to see the ministry of fisheries signing such a one-sided contract with a Chinese company,” Abdirizak Mohamed, a Somali lawmaker representing a coastal region, told RFI. The newly elected president of the Puntland state of northeast Somalia has signed a deal with the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) to build a port in the Red Sea town of Eyl.. The deal was signed by President Said Abdullahi Deni in Beijing on Friday, during a trade visit to China. Somalia is seeking to renegotiate an agreement that gives a company run by former British soldiers sole control over one of the world’s richest fishing grounds off … In the aftermath, warring warlords tore the Horn of Africa apart. Illegal fishing gained traction, fostered by the lawlessness that prevailed. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration, including high-ranking American military officials, have warned African countries that China is using predatory lending practices to undermine the borrowers’ sovereignty. … Claims about China’s debt-trap diplomacy unquestioningly assume that China’s own economic and geostrategic interests are maximized when its lending partners are in distress. Somalia has never had a large domestic industrial fishing fleet and has mostly used foreign fleets to undertake fishing for them. Mohamed, who served as Somalia’s minister of the interior, also noted: The narrative here, again and again, is because of illegal fishing, this has forced many fisheries to engage in criminal activities such as piracy. The analyst also conceded that Somalia lacks a strong navy required to stop overfishing. Fishing Holds Key to Brexit Trade Deal as Talks Drag On More FILE- In this Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2020 file photo, a fishing vessel is docked at Kilkeel harbor in Northern Ireland. ”It actually gives China the advantage.”. Share Tweet. “The Somaliland navy is regularly patrolling our coast, and will defend its territorial integrity from Chinese or any other illegal fishers,” the Somaliland minister for livestock and fisheries, Hassan Ali Gafadhi, said. An expert from the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy explained: China has often been accused of practicing “debt-trap diplomacy”—miring supposed partners, particularly developing countries, in unsustainable debt-based relationships. Somalia was at war with itself. “Overfishing by Chinese trawlers has cost thousands of jobs in West Africa. “We worry [about] overfishing, destruction of fish species and availability of the tuna which the Chinese were granted to catch. The latest deal inked will further boost Puntland’s relations with China which supports its companies to participate in the Somali Federal State's airport, seaport and road projects. Hasan said he was worried about the environmental impact of such contracts. “I don’t see it as a factor for the restart of piracy but I see it as a factor in a tragedy because one of the solutions that was implemented to stop piracy was the use of private security guards,” he said. 11:11. Some Somalis, particularly those in the fishing community, worry that their livelihoods will be gutted, while others fear a … In 2013, the then president of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud signed a deal with a British company, Soma Oil & Gas, for oil exploration in Somalia. Legal experts and local fishing groups have warned that a deal between the Somali government and a consortium of Chinese companies will be difficult to regulate, may encourage piracy and cou… The disintegration of Somalia into clan-based fiefdoms after the overthrow of President Siad Barre in 1991 led to a massive breakdown of the rule of law in Somalia, and this negatively affected the fishing industry in epic proportions. A new fishing deal signed between the Somalia government and vessels tied to the China Overseas Fisheries Association raises serious questions. Furthermore, Somalis believe their government is unable to vet the Chinese vessels’ catch for overfishing. ! - Duration: 11:11. And now, as China is legally entering the business, local fishermen are not going to get anything. The current events in Somalia cause even greater concern. Some Somalis, particularly those in the fishing community, worry that their livelihoods will be gutted, … Last year the Somali government granted 31 fishing licenses to China. Somalia Gives Up Fishing Rights to China? Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting. A new fishing deal signed between the Somalia government and vessels tied to the China Overseas Fisheries Association raises serious questions. A World Bank-backed committee criticized a deal in which a company partly owned by Saladin Security Ltd. was granted the rights to manage all aspects of Somalia’s fishing … Last year the Somali government granted 31 fishing licenses to China. “These foreign trawlers catch even sea turtles which they later sell on the black market.”. Somali officials have refuted accusations that a China used “debt trap diplomacy” to get fishing licenses. Analyst Hansen, however, does not think the deal will stoke piracy. “The deal will certainly impact our local fishermen who depend on fishing for their livelihood,” the lawmaker said. A new fishing deal signed between the Somalia government and vessels tied to the China Overseas Fisheries Association raises serious questions. 3. In February last year, a fishing deal signed between the Somalia government and vessels tied to the China Overseas Fisheries Association caused uproar among artisanal fishing community and politicians, who argued that it would destroy their livelihoods. Thousands of fishers were left idle in their home towns. The China Overseas Fisheries Association, which represents 150 companies, was allowed to fish for tuna in Somali waters. They believe that the Chinese vessels will be using a destructive trawling practice, but in reality all the licenced vessels are long liners that will be monitored to ensure they stick to the agreed fishing activity. A fishing deal between China and the Somali government could prove disastrous for regional stability. Long lining vessels use hooks baited onto a long line in waters of 2,000m deep and do not come into contact with the ocean floor, and while there can be entanglement and bycatch of other species, it has less of an impact on the marine ecosystem than trawling. Somalia’s fishing industry has suffered from years of underinvestment and has “no big vessels”, according to Mohamed. “It is not the right time. Hassan Mohamed Roble, head of Iskaashato, the Mogadishu fishing umbrella of more than 200 local fishers, says the Somali government hastily signed the contract. “Local fishermen use small nets and if sea creatures are accidentally trapped in their nets, they discard them back to the ocean,” Mohamed Sheikh Ahmed, a boat owner and fisher in Mogadishu said. A fishing deal between China and the Somali government could prove disastrous for regional stability. “We have conducted the signing of 31 offshore tuna licenses to FOCA [the consortium] in a transparent manner. The Gruesome Case of the Papin Sisters - Duration: 23:09. Somalia Grants Access to Its Offshore Fishing Waters to China as Local Fisherman Struggle to Compete. While the deal only allows Beijing to fish 24 nautical miles from Somalia’s coast, the local fishing communities worry that the African country’s government is unable to ensure that China respects those boundaries. Tuna caught by a Chinese long-liner (Image: Stam Lee). In 2013, the then president of Somalia Hassan Sheikh Mohamud signed a deal with a British company, Soma Oil & Gas, for oil exploration in Somalia. 2019/03/22 | Ian Milden China-Somalia Fishing Deal Could Create a Surge in Pirate Attacks . “The contract is about tuna but we are afraid the Chinese will catch everything and leave us nothing.”. Take a deep dive with monthly updates of chinadialogue ocean articles and marine-focused news curated by our team. Locals resent the international navies, believing they are in Somali waters specifically to protect illegal foreign fishing 4. “One of the key underlying reasons for piracy off the Somali shores was the depletion of seafood resources through illegal fishing by foreign companies,” Quartz reported in December 2018 in the wake of the Somalia-China fishing pact. Against the background of the severe economic situation and the military confrontation of the many groups, having divided the country into the spheres of influence throughout the decades of the civil war, a new threat appeared, capable of aggravating the situation considerably and make Somalia one of the problematic spots on … The deal comes as the leaders of the Federal Government of Somalia and the regional states are still in deadlock over the share of the revenue from the foreign fishing … Everyone is speaking about this, expressing their concerns. However international experts emphasised that tuna fishing takes place in the deep sea that is outside the range of many small-scale, local fishing fleets. Somalia has issued a large number of fishing licenses to Chinese operators, raising concerns among domestic fishermen that foreign fishing pressure in Somali waters will increase. According to the ministry of fisheries website, the deal allows 31 Chinese long-line vessels to fish for “tuna and tuna-like species” twice a year for one year, and will be renewed depending on an independent annual stock assessment. The China Overseas Fisheries Association, which represents 150 companies, was allowed to fish for tuna in Somali waters. He said he was concerned that this would provide an opportunity for some countries that are believed to overfish in many African countries and elsewhere. This has to be based on the trust between the Chinese government and the Somali government – it’s a long shot. Report: Somali Fishing Communities Worry About Chinese Deal While the relationship between Somaliland and Somalia is fragile, there is a real potential for a more authoritative claim to the EEZ off Somalia’s coast. China-Somalia fishing deal may revive sea piracy Somalia has the longest national coastline (3,025 km) in Africa with an estimated shelf area of 32,500 sq km.