Somali government said the number of Iranian fishing vessels could be way higher less than two weeks after the government reported over 100 Iranian vessels which fished illegally in Somali waters between January 2019 and April this year.
Somalia’s Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources has asked Iran to disclose more information on its fishing fleet’s activities in the Northwest Indian Ocean region after several of them were spotted in exclusive economic zones of Somalia and Yemen.
Somalia Fisheries Minister Abdilahi Warsame said there is increasing concern of illegal fishing in Somalia’s EEZ by foreign fishing vessels, the majority of which are from the Iranian ports of Konarak, Bandar-e, Tiyab and Ramin.
“The situation related to the presence of the Iranian fleets in Somali waters remains a longstanding concern of the Federal Republic of Somalia, and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing in Somalia waters constitutes a significant threat to food security, economic development, sovereignty and maritime ecology of Somalia,” Warsame said on Twitter.
A report by the campaign group Secure Fisheries in 2017 said up to 2.4 million tones of fish have been caught in Somali waters illegally in the last 60 years.
Somalia formally licensed 31 Chinese fishing vessels in November 2018 at a cost of $2.5 million under the new fisheries law.