Monday, February 27, 2012

Illegal Fishing and Somali Piracy

The Global Policy Forum, a New York-based independent policy watchdog that monitors the work of the United Nations, released a report on piracy, illegal fishing and toxic waste dumping that will warm the hearts of Somali pirates. It is highly misleading in that it states illegal fishing and toxic waste dumping continue to be serious threats along the shores of Somalia. Illegal fishing was at one time a serious problem along the coast of Somalia. This is undeniable but it largely came to an end about 2005 or 2006 as piracy became a growing threat to all vessels--those operating legally and illegally. This is about the same time that credible source material in the Global Policy Forum study also ends.

Since 2005-2006, most foreign vessels, including fishing vessels, have given wide berth to Somalia's 200 mile economic zone because of piracy. While foreign fishing vessels are still on occasion captured by Somali pirates, they are taken hundreds of miles from the Somali coast, in some cases as much as 1,000 miles. It simply does not pass the common sense test that foreign fishing vessels are continuing to fish the waters within Somalia's 200 mile economic zone. The vessels would be captured and the crew held hostage for ransom. Somali pirates and some Somali officials who benefit from ransom money would like you to believe, of course, that illegal foreign fishing is still occurring within the 200 mile economic zone. The Global Policy Forum should be more careful about buying into this propaganda. At the same time, it is important the international community take steps to help ensure that illegal fishing does not return to the Somali 200 mile economic zone once piracy is brought under control.

Toxic waste dumping is an even more controversial issue than illegal foreign fishing, which clearly did exist in earlier years. There have been a couple of cases that go back about ten years suggesting there was limited toxic waste dumping along the Somali coast. This problem is not limited to the Somali coast. These old reports continue to be replayed as though they happened yesterday. To the best of my knowledge, there have been no recent confirmed cases of toxic waste dumping. This does not mean it has not happened. It just means that it has not been confirmed.

The entire report written by Suzanne Dershowitz and James Paul is dated February 2012 and titled Fisherman, Pirates and Naval Squadrons: The Security Council and the Battle over Somalia's Coastal Seas. You can read it for yourself and make up your own mind.

1 comment:

  1. Piracy in fishing, even though illegal, is still hard to wipe out and more are being recorded up to this date. Such piracy does not only deplete our marine resources but can also bring harm because of pollution and toxic waste disposal. We hope this could be apprehended in real time.