Seychelles provides Blue Economy inspiration for the first comprehensive fishing strategy for Somalia
Following the visit of a delegation led by the Somali Minister of Fisheries, H.E Mr. Mohammed Olow, Seychelles and Somalia have underlined the opportunities that exist to use Seychelles’ experience in developing a platform to relaunch Somali fisheries strategy and also strengthen the platform for the development of a Blue Economy in the region.
The Somali Minister and his delegation concluded their visit with discussions with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Jean-Paul Adam, and Minister for Natural resources, Peter Sinon at Maison Queau de Quinssy on Monday 7th April.
The high level delegation from the Federal Republic of Somalia undertook a fact finding mission to Seychelles where they have met with key Government officials and other relevant stakeholders on how best to develop the Somali fisheries sector.
The visit which was facilitated by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Programme and involved stakeholders from the regional fisheries groupings from different parts of Somalia (such as Somaliland, Puntland and other semi-autonomous regions) also 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. The discussions also follow proposals tabled by President James Michel at the London conference on Somalia whereby Seychelles stressed the importance of building economic recovery in Somalia and suggested Seychelles’ support in the fisheries sector in February 2012.
This agreement was hailed by the Somali minister as ‘historic’, and would provide a platform for the development of fisheries in Somalia. Among the key steps agreed include the strengthening of Somali fisheries legislation, 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 (UNCLOS) regarding the delimitation of Somalia’s EEZ.
“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. Seychelles has consistently called on the international community to assist Somalia in building 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”, Minister Adam stated.
Minister Adam, mentioned that it was a privilege for Seychelles to be viewed as a successful model for fisheries that could be emulated in Somalia and would support Somalia as an Indian Ocean neighbour in its mission to establish a functioning fisheries industry, which would contribute to stability in Somalia and promote peaceful, shared and sustainable exploitation of our oceanic spaces.
Minister Sinon stressed that the two countries were connected by the sea, and that Seychelles would support the nascent steps being made to make fisheries a vital part of a rejuvenated Somali economy. The Minister noted that Seychelles was always aiming to balance the development of all sectors of its fisheries- from artisanal to semi-industrial and industrial fisheries and was happy to use these experiences in helping Somalia to simultaneously build its local capacity while also attracting investment. He mentioned that it was foreseeable that Seychelles; train key stakeholders in Somalia through technical exchanges, help harmonise Somalia’s respective fishing laws and ensure establishment of indigenous capacity fro academic and technical research centres for fisheries.
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 countries in light of the ‘Blue Economy’ framework once Somali has implemented the basis for a functioning fishing industry, including through joint ventures.
During their visit, the Somali delegation have toured the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, the Seychelles Fisheries Association and the Indian ocean Tuna cannery to acquaint themselves with the operational aspect of a Fisheries industry
- Amended version of press release