Salmon fishing in the Yemen: Time to take industry seriously
At a recent workshop held in Sana’a by the Fishery Cooperative Union and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Dr. Fathia Bahran, the director of IFAD, said fishing revenues are the third highest earning sector in Yemen, with over two million people benefiting from the industry.
He went on to say that fisheries are a significant source of employment for current and future generations and therefore need to be managed effectively.
At the workshop, which aimed to discuss international best-practice models for securing sustainable small-scale fish farms, Bahran said that the practice in Yemen face many challenges and obstacles.
According to Bahran, fish farms are often located far from markets causing late delivery, and are also subject to environmental degradation, bad climate and over-use.
Bahran also said that if this wealth is cared for, it would become a major contributor to Yemen’s economic growth.
Awath Al-Sokatri, the minister of fisheries said the workshop is of great significance. He said it can secure small fish farms, support economic growth and improve living conditions for those in the industry. He emphasized that the government has formed a committee to evaluate the losses sustained by fishermen due to piracy and to probe into the cases of detained fishermen in neighboring countries to secure their release.
For his part Ali Ahmed Bin Sheba, the head of the fishery cooperative union said the workshop aimed to explore ways to develop coastal environments to create sustainable fishing patterns in Yemen and to investigate the problems faced by fishermen.
Dr. Mohammed Sallam, the deputy representative for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Yemen said that small fish farms have a key role to play in ending poverty and providing job opportunities for fishermen throughout Yemen.
Yemen’s coastline is about 2500 km. long with stocks of over 600 types of fish and other sea creatures. Despite fish and sea life being the third largest export in Yemen, its contribution to local revenue is very low, officials say.
Last July, a governmental report revealed a dramatic decline in Yemen’s fish production over the past couple of years due to piracy and illegal fishing by foreign ships in addition to the crisis of 2011.
The report indicated that Yemen’s production of fish and other sea creatures has declined in value from $300 million in 2009 to less than $50 million in 2011.