On October 13, FairFishing partner SOMAFISH FC lost a set of five big nets valued at $1000 when they got caught up in foreign trawler’s gear, just one nautical mile from the Somaliland coast.
SOMAFISH owns five ships, and it was one of their 7.5 metre vessels that lost valuable equipment due to the trawler’s activity.
Had the boat been bigger, the loss of nets might have been more than three times as high.
When the tide is low, trawlers often hunt shrimps along the 350 nautical mile stretch between Berbera and Djibouti. We do not know if shrimp trawling here is legal, only that it definitely should be illegal because of its negative impact on the environment and the fish stock.
A shrimp trawler is, naturally, looking for shrimp, but in the process it catches everything on its way. This means that trawlers by the way they are designed and function are forced to throw large amount of fish and seafood out for every kilo of shrimps they keep.
Official statistics indicate a waste level of 80% in this kind of trawler fishery. This is pointless waste that could instead be sold and inland, which is why it is widely regarded as one of the most disruptive and destructive types of fishery around.
None of FairFishing’s partners use trawlers. We only use passive and respectful equipment such as nets, long lines and hand lines, as we see trawler fishery as harmful. In the short run, it destroys artisanal fishermen’s tools. In the long run, it ruins the bottom of the sea, the coral reefs and the fish stock.
This episode last night should be an opportunity to consider trawling’s impact on fish stock, the environment and Somaliland’s own fishery.
There is no registered trawler fishery in Somaliland today: FairFishing recommends that it stays that way.
Fishery Project Manager Kurt Bertelsen Christensen, FairFishing