Iranian-flagged vessels illegally fishing in Somalia’s EEZ – gov’t

Somali government expressed serious concern on Wednesday over reports of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in Somalia’s Exclusive Economic Zone.

The government noted that IUU fishing can contribute to destabilization among coastal communities, it believed that it accounts for millions of dollars in lost revenue for Somalia each year.

In a statement, the Ministry of Fisheries said more than 100 Iranian vessels have been fishing illegally in Somali waters between January 2019 and April this year.

The statement stated that the number could be way higher owing to low detection.

“Between January 2019 to 14 April 2020, approximately 112 Iranian fishing vessels were identified transmitting on automatic identification system (AIS) transponders from within the Somalia EEZ for a total of 2533 days,” the statement reads in part.

According to the statement, a further 83 AIS net markers were also linked to Iran, the Ministry said noting at least 192 vessels have been operating illegally inside the Somalia and Yemen EEZ.

Fisheries Ministry warned against the activities and called on Iranian authorities s to cooperate. “Illegal fishing will not be tolerated in Somalia.

The situation related to presence of the Iranian fleets in Somalia waters, remains a longstanding concern of the Federal Republic of Somalia,” said Warsame.

The vessels, the government said, ‘appear to be originating from and using a number of different ports in Iran including Port Konarak, Banda-e Jask, Port Tiyab and Ramin.

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