Somalia seeks Seychelles expertise to develop fisheries
Tuna uploading in Port Victoria, (Seychelles Fishing Authority)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles has expressed the will and commitment to help the war-torn eastern Africa nation of Somalia to re-launch its fisheries industry, according to a press statement issued today by the Seychelles Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
A delegation from Somalia has held talks with government officials and other relevant partners in the Indian Ocean archipelago including Seychelles’ Ministers for Foreign Affairs Jean-Paul Adam and Natural Resources Peter Sinon on Monday 07, April.
Both sides at the meeting – held in the islands’ capital Victoria -- noted that Seychelles has one of the biggest tuna canneries in the world and a lot of experience in fisheries management, while Somalia is located along the path of migrating tuna.
President Michel 2nd from Right at the London Conference on Somalia, Lancaster House February 23,2013 (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: Attribution
They recalled that during the February 2012 London conference on Somalia, Seychelles President James Michel tabled proposals whereby Seychelles stressed the importance of building economic recovery in Somalia and offered his country’s support for the eastern African nation’s fisheries sector.
Somali minister of fisheries Mohammed Olow said both countries have underlined the opportunities that exist to use Seychelles’ experience to develop a platform to re-launch Somali fisheries strategy and strengthen the platform for the development of a Blue Economy in the region.
In the statement MFA said although the fact-finding team members came mainly from the Federal Republic of Somalia, the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation-arranged mission involved stakeholders from the regional fisheries groupings from other parts of Somalia like Somaliland, Puntland and several semi-autonomous regions.
“The mission ended with an agreement on the framework for a comprehensive fisheries development strategy for the first time, which allows for revenue sharing among the regions, ” said the statement, adding that Olow hailed the agreement as ‘historic’.
The ministry said among the key steps agreed include the strengthening of Somali fisheries laws, as well as efforts to establish a fisheries authority, strengthen control and monitoring, and also work towards the finalization of the Somalia submission to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea regarding the delimitation of Somalia’s exclusive economic zone.
“It is well known that Seychelles has been at the forefront of the fight against piracy. But we also know that the root causes of piracy are due to the lack of economic opportunities in Somalia,” Adam said in the statement.
“Seychelles has consistently called on the international community to help Somalia build its economy. Even though we are a small country, we are happy and proud to help Somalia by sharing our experiences in this way- and we believe that a ‘Blue Economy’, entails the development of a situation where all states can benefit from the oceanic resources at their disposal.”
“It is a privilege for Seychelles to be viewed as a successful model for fisheries that can be emulated in Somalia,” he said, expressing confidence that a functioning Somali fisheries can contribute to stability in Somalia and promote peaceful, shared and sustainable exploitation of the two countries’ oceanic spaces.
The ministry said the Somali delegation expressed their interest in not only learning from Seychelles’ past experience in creating a thriving fisheries sector but also establishing firmer ties between the two countries in light of the ‘Blue Economy’ .
During their visit, the Somali delegation visited the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, the Seychelles Fisheries Association and the Indian Ocean Tuna cannery.