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Sunday, April 21, 2024

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    A Somali court has reopened the case against Iranian and Pakistani fishermen accused of illegal fishing.

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    The Banadir Regional Court in Somalia has reopened a case against 36 Iranian and Pakistani fishermen convicted of unauthorised fishing operations previously. The offenders were captured off the coast of Hobyo in the Mudug district, and their convictions are currently being appealed.

    The court earlier penalised each offender $11,000 and imposed a $30,000 collective payment to the Somali government for compensation for the unlawfully harvested fish. According to Salah Ali Mohamud, Chairman of the Banadir Regional Court, the case was examined three times before a verdict was issued.

    According to Mohamud, the judgement reaffirms the Somali government’s commitment to protecting maritime resources, combating illicit fishing, and holding foreign fishermen accountable for crimes. Since January 2023, the Somali Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy has reported an increase in the number of foreign vessels operating illegally in the Somali Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

    For decades, these illegal activities, known as Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing, have caused significant environmental and economic damage to the region. IUU fishing is a global issue that jeopardises the sustainability of fish stocks, has an impact on coastal communities’ livelihoods, and inhibits attempts to promote responsible and sustainable fisheries management.

    Because of its strategic location, extensive coastline, and weak administration, Somalia has been particularly plagued by IUU fishing. Years of conflict, piracy, and illicit fishing have wreaked havoc on the country’s fisheries sector, which has been destroyed. To prevent IUU fishing and enhance fisheries management, the Somali government has collaborated with international partners and regional organisations.

    The reopening of the case against the Iranian and Pakistani fishermen sends a clear statement that Somalia is committed to upholding its laws and protecting its sea resources. It also emphasises the importance of international cooperation and coordination in addressing the underlying causes of IUU fishing and promoting sustainable fishing practises.

    Before fishing in Somali seas, the Somali Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy has urged foreign vessels to follow its rules and regulations and to secure the requisite permits and licences. The ministry has also encouraged international partners to assist Somalia in combating IUU fishing and developing a sustainable fisheries industry that benefits both the country and the region.

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