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Foreign companies loot $350m from Somalia

Muhyadin Ahmed Roble, AfricaNews reporter in Nairobi, Kenya

Foreign companies loot and dump toxic wastes in Somali seas in the full glare of the EU and NATO naval forces that patrol the Somali coastal lines, a Somali professor at the University of Minnesota has said.

Abdi Ismail Samater, a professor of Geography at the University of Minnesota claims foreign companies poach and dump toxic waste in Somali waters.

He said foreign interests seized the opportunity to begin looting the country’s seafood after the collapse of the Somali government in 1991.

“Between 700 up to 800 illegal fishing ships directly steal Somali seafood. They took any kind of fish including nest eggs in the deep waters”, he told AfricaNews in an exclusive interview.

He added that foreign ships use prohibited fishing equipment, including nets with very small mesh sizes and sophisticated underwater lighting systems, to lure fish to their traps.

Somalia waters have huge numbers of commercial fish species, including the prized yellow fin tuna.

The illegal fishing ships come from Italy, Egypt, India, South Korea, Kenya, Tanzania, and Spain, according to a research that is yet to be published by Prof. Abdi Ismail Samater and his colleagues at University of Minnesota.

The research also indicates that illegal fishing companies from Japan, China, Denmark and Holland are also part of the lootings process in Somalia.

“The illegal fishing companies poach an estimated between $250 up to$350 million in seafood from Somali waters annually”, Prof. Samater said.

The foreign companies steal an invaluable protein source from one of the world’s poorest nations, where half of its population needs food aids.

One in six Somali children is acutely malnourished – a total of some 240,000 children – the highest acute malnutrition rates anywhere in the world. In south and central Somalia these rates are even higher, reaching one in every five children, According to WFP.

The UN estimates it will need $689 million to provide aid in 2010 to the Somali population, of which 43 per cent live on less than a dollar a day.

Professor Abdi accused foreign companies for ruin the livelihoods of legitimate fishermen. He claimed NATO and EU force in Somali waters don not stop or even speak out illegal fishing in the coast.

“NATO and EU forces are aware of the ongoing poaching in Somali sea but they are focusing on pursuing only their economic and security interest”, he said.

But Lieutenant Colonel Per Klingvall, spokesperson for EU NAVFOR said his force is contributing in monitoring fishing activity off the coast of Somalia.

“We are mandated to monitor and report illegal activities off the coast of Somalia. We have no information about illegal fishing in Somalia”, Per Klingvall said.

“European fishing vessels pass their location to us daily, they have not been in Somali waters since they started passing EU NAV FOR their details. As far as we can monitor the European fishing fleets are outside the, by Somali, declared 200 NM Economic exclusive zone.”

Prof Abdi Ismail Samater said foreign warships came to the Gulf of Aden to protect only their interests and the increasing insurance costs.

But the spokesperson for EU NAVFOR said that their main objective is to escort World Food Programme (WFP) ships so they can deliver humanitarian aid to the Somali people.

“Since we started Dec 2008 we have escorted more than 80 ships who have delivered more than 410 000 metric tons. That feeds 1 300 000 people every day”, he told AfricaNews.

‘Other missions are to escort AMISOM logistic ships and other vulnerable ships. We are also mandated to disrupt and deter acts of piracy and armed robbery off the Somali coast”.

Somali pirates are causing havoc in the Gulf of Aden, one of the world’s busiest shipping routes connecting Europe to Asia and the Middle East.

“There are stories that piracy probably started as a reaction to foreign illegal fishing over 10 years ago.

However, the pirates are no longer motivated by good causes – all of the recent attacks off the East coast of Somalia have been hundreds of miles from Somali waters and have been for financial gain only”, said Per Klingvall.

In sharp contrast to the EU Naval force for Somalia, Professor Samatar says a number of pirate are out to make money, some are patriots who are out to defend the waters against looting.

“All power full states are just pushing only their interests. Somali pirates took only $35 million each year while foreign companies loot $350 m seafood annually.

No-one is addressing looting but World bodies are busy discussing pirates”, he said.

Prof Samater says western nations are only focused to fight pirates since it is a threat to their economy.

“No one is listening to a weak person who is crying and saying “please don’t take my fish”. No nation is serious for Somali issue. They are all busy for their interests”.

Warships from the United States, Britain, Japan, France and other countries have been trying to stop Somali pirates, but have been unable to uproot the problem of piracy.

The international community has been focused on training Somali ground forces–military and police–to defend Somali government from Islamist rebels but EUNAVFOR spokesperson said they have no mandate to train Somali Naval Force.

Source: http://www.africanews.com/ | Posted on Friday 22 October 2010 – 09:45

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4 Jawaabood " Foreign companies loot $350m from Somalia "

  1. banu says:

    our only solution is to work together and care for each other to fight the big fight.
    unless we help and support each other their will be no solution because the presdent is only one person who is dealing with all nasty internal fights sorry to say I wish we could listen to each other instead and above all is tha shaytan that is controlling our lives if we let the shaytan in our lives. we have to believe in Allah in action in order for our affairs to be taken care of by Allah insha Allah.

  2. When I read such articles it gives me a goosebumps because its really very sad that our country is one of the poorest in the world and other nations making unbelievable money from our waters. We live in a cruel world where the stronger eats the weaker and the richer plays the poorer like a fake toy.

  3. C/rashiid says:

    I have not read any patriotic and realistic statements from the educated Somali diaspora lately.

    Prof. A Samater’s argument is right on the spot, RESOURCE DEPLETION.

    Western nations do not even allow you to pursuing your intelectual ambitions, hence Iran can not develop their energy needs. Somali Rightwing Party might be the answer for this.

    I think Sh.Sharif, Abu Mansuur(Al-Shabaab), Siilaanyo and Faroole should be uniting the Somali natives. That will send sleepless signals to the Somali Haters.

    When AU proposed that Sea, Airspace and land should be blocked for the good of the Somali Nation. This has changed my thinking forever, because there are more to come, remember Abu Quraib Prison in Iraq.

    I live in Europe and as we know when Europeans face financial ruin, their are the worst kind of human being. Have second option, repatriate and shred your stupid passports so you don’t come back, as they did in Spain during Islamic empire(they burned their boats).

    Please note, the world is prospering from the Eastern side.

    Somali’s have to move away from their comfort zone, i.e senseless tribal affiliation.

    I rather eat,travel,share and ask for help to any Somali and I mean any Somali person rather than Bush and the like.

    Good Luck

  4. mohamed says:

    Asalaamu calaykum walaalayaal waxaa mahad leh allihi halkan innagu kulmiyey kaddibna walaalaha isu xilqaamay danta dadka iyo dalka soomaaliyeed ee somalitalk ilaahay xasanaad haydiinku beddelo maalinta loogu baahi badan yahay ee qiyaame professor cabdi ismaaciil samatarna
    waa halyey soomaaliyeed oo dalkissa difaaca qalinkana kudifaaca wax
    badan oo aqoon tiisa lamidah leh ama kasarreeya ayuu ku dhaafay
    dadaalka uu dalkiisa iyo dadkiisa ugu jiro isagoon meel gaar ah isku xidhin oo muwaadin soomaaliya u damqanaya ah ilaahayna xasanaad haw kubeddelo kurbana hakaga feydo maalinta qiyaame walaalayaal hakadaalina dsadaalkiinna, jaza’akumullaahu khayran