Revolutionizing Somalia’s Fisheries and Blue Economy through Strategic Partnership with Oman

In a recent development, Somalia and Oman have officially penned a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance the fisheries sector in Somalia. This collaboration between Somalia’s Fisheries Minister Ahmed Hassan Adan and Oman’s Agriculture and Fisheries Minister Saud bin Hamoud Al Habsi aims to boost economic relations and support sustainable fishing practices.

Minister Adan is optimistic about how this partnership will invigorate Somalia’s fishing industry through infrastructure improvements and capacity building. By attracting foreign investments, policymakers hope to create a thriving economic environment that taps into Somalia’s rich marine resources, leading to self-sufficiency.

This MoU aligns with Somalia’s strategic focus on its “blue economy,” which encompasses economic activities in ocean and coastal regions such as fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, shipping, and offshore energy extraction – all seen as critical drivers of future economic prosperity.

Despite boasting the longest coastline in continental Africa at approximately 3,333 kilometers and a significant Exclusive Economic Zone, Somalia’s marine resources remain largely untapped. With potential annual fish harvests exceeding 200,000 metric tons, the current reality is far from this potential, with local artisanal fishers landing a mere 6,000 metric tons in 2022 and foreign vessels possibly underreporting their catch at an estimated 13,000 metric tons.

However, Somalia’s fisheries sector is rife with challenges, including illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing by commercial foreign vessels in Somali waters. These activities not only deplete fish stocks but also hinder the country’s economic growth potential and the efforts of local fishers.

The partnership with Oman holds promise for enhancing responsible fishing practices, improving post-harvest management, and creating job opportunities in the sector. Experts anticipate that this collaboration will enhance Somalia’s export capabilities and overall economic well-being, serving as a blueprint for future agreements. Somalia has been striving to regulate its fisheries sector, including issuing licenses to major fishing entities.

This MoU marks Somalia’s first partnership since entering into a 10-year maritime security agreement with Turkey to bolster the country’s naval capacities and safeguard its territorial integrity.

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