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A recent Illegal Unregulated and Unreported [IUU] Fisheries workshop held in Djibouti by the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development [IGAD] for East Africa and facilitated by the Fish I Africa Organisation and the African Maritime Safety and Security Agency finalised in an unanimous decision from the high level delegates to formalise the development of a task force focused on the advancement of sustainable fisheries for the Horn of Africa sub regions; the delegates were representative of the Somalia Federal Government, Somaliland, Puntland and Djibouti,.

The workshop, which focused on International Law, (led by Shannon Cosentino-Roush), IUU Fisheries (led by Pierre Malan) and Maritime Safety and Security (led by Karen Sumser-Lupson) provided the selected delegates with a background of factual material which they considered during focused breakout sessions.

‘The impacts of illegal, unregulated and unreported fisheries cannot be under estimated’ delegates stated and that ‘IUU fishing occurs in all parts of our waters even within areas under our national jurisdiction; this situation poses a direct and significant threat to effective conservation and management of our natural fish stocks, causing multiple adverse consequences for fisheries and for our citizens who depend on them in the pursuit of their legitimate livelihoods’.

All delegates were extremely concerned that in general the Horn of Africa fishery management objectives had become frustrated by external influences, and spelt out that a continuation of IUU fishing could lead to the collapse of a fishery and/or seriously impair efforts to rebuild depleted fish stocks. Evidence was provided that highlighted the fact that left unchecked, IUU fishing would totally contravene the benefits of effective fisheries management.

A local fisherman’s cooperative explained that often their nets were cut away and even their small boats were charged by large vessels from the International fleets and that often their fishing fields were simply taken over by those vessels. He stated that the biggest clan war around the Horn of Africa was in the sea with the two major clans heralding from Asia and Europe.

It was agreed that by definition, IUU fishing is an expressly illegal activity or, at a minimum, an activity undertaken with little regard for applicable standards and that for the Horn of Africa the IUU fishers gain an unjust advantage over legitimate fishers. A serious of action points were raised with the main action being the formation of a Task Force which would focus on developing a Sustainable Fisheries Management Strategy for the Horn of Africa.
A report will be released in the coming weeks.
To learn more about the task force, please contact

Mr. Daoud Alwan or
Dr Karen Sumser- Lupson

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