Tags: China fishing, Somalia, Somali pirates, China-Somalia relations, China-Somalia fishing deal A new fishing deal signed between the Somalia government and vessels tied to the China Overseas Fisheries Association raises serious questions. Lack of economic opportunity was identified as the principal driver of pirate recruitment 2. Somalia Gives Up Fishing Rights to China? 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. A new fishing deal signed between the Somalia government and vessels tied to the China Overseas Fisheries Association raises serious questions. “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. Somalia Grants Access to Its Offshore Fishing Waters to China as Local Fisherman Struggle to Compete. Hasan said he was worried about the environmental impact of such contracts. 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 analyst also conceded that Somalia lacks a strong navy required to stop overfishing. Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting. 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. 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. “It is not the right time. Some Somalis, particularly those in the fishing community, worry that their livelihoods will be gutted, while others fear a … Now if they come to Somalia, they will ruin the local fishers and destroy our waters,” he said. … 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. A new fishing deal signed between the Somalia government and vessels tied to the China Overseas Fisheries Association raises serious questions. 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. 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. 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. Existing fishing laws in Somalia are thought to be weak, but they do ban trawling. 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. Somali fishermen are also concerned that the deal will ultimately foment piracy in the region. “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. The deal is explicitly for longline fishing, not the more destructive trawling method that has come to be associated with overfishing in other regions. 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. 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. “Chinese vessels have poured into African waters to get nice seafood for trade, degrading fish stocks.”. Some Somalis, particularly those in the fishing community, worry that their livelihoods will be gutted, … “The contract is about tuna but we are afraid the Chinese will catch everything and leave us nothing.”. China-Somalia fishing deal may revive sea piracy Posted By: Jibril Qoobey March 13, 2019. Illegal fishing gained traction, fostered by the lawlessness that prevailed. ! - Duration: 11:11. In the aftermath, warring warlords tore the Horn of Africa apart. 11:11. The Chinese Offshore Fishing Association (COFA), was the only entity to express interest in licenses. Report: Somali Fishing Communities Worry About Chinese Deal We needed some laws and regulations to protect the local fishers first,” Roble said. 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. This has to be based on the trust between the Chinese government and the Somali government – it’s a long shot. A new fishing deal signed between the Somalia government and vessels tied to the China Overseas Fisheries Association raises serious questions. Illegal fishing by foreign vessels was characterized as the fundamental grievance that sparked piracy and provides ongoing justification for it 3. 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… Somalia has never had a large domestic industrial fishing fleet and has mostly used foreign fleets to undertake fishing for them. 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. Analyst Hansen, however, does not think the deal will stoke piracy. Hassan Mohamed Roble, head of Iskaashato, the Mogadishu fishing umbrella of more than 200 local fishers, says the Somali government hastily signed the contract. Somalia’s fishing industry has suffered from years of underinvestment and has “no big vessels”, according to Mohamed. 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. 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. “We have conducted the signing of 31 offshore tuna licenses to FOCA [the consortium] in a transparent manner. 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. Essential findings from interviews with Somalis living near the coast were as follows: 1. “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. 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. It might reorganize them, reenergize them to engage in these criminal activities again. The current events in Somalia cause even greater concern. Dr. Mumbi Show 27,431 views. ”It actually gives China the advantage.”. A fishing deal between China and the Somali government could prove disastrous for regional stability. Russia Signs Deal With Sudan for Naval Base on the Red Sea. 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. 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 … Everyone is speaking about this, expressing their concerns. 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 … Furthermore, Somalis believe their government is unable to vet the Chinese vessels’ catch for overfishing. Locals resent the international navies, believing they are in Somali waters specifically to protect illegal foreign fishing 4. “Overfishing by Chinese trawlers has cost thousands of jobs in West Africa. The Gruesome Case of the Papin Sisters - Duration: 23:09. 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. Last year the Somali government granted 31 fishing licenses to China. And into this 3,330-kilometer-long void—the longest coastline in continental Africa—foreign fishing fleets swarmed. “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. 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. Some Somalis, particularly those in the fishing community, worry that their livelihoods will be gutted, while others fear a … Somali officials have refuted accusations that a China used “debt trap diplomacy” to get fishing licenses. The China Overseas Fisheries Association, which represents 150 companies, was allowed to fish for tuna in Somali waters. 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 … 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. Thousands of fishers were left idle in their home towns. 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. 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. 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. AfricaAsiaNational SecurityChinadebt trap diplomacyfishingOne Belt One RoadSomalia. In the long term this deal is not benefiting Somalis,” Hasan added. “The deal will certainly impact our local fishermen who depend on fishing for their livelihood,” the lawmaker said. 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. Tuna caught by a Chinese long-liner (Image: Stam Lee). As the fishing infrastructure is built up and more Somalis are drawn to the industry, more weight will be given to their concerns. 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. And now, as China is legally entering the business, local fishermen are not going to get anything. 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