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Somalia: Local fishing communities say deal between govt. & Chinese Overseas Fisheries Association will compromise their livelihood

"Somalia: Chinese deal angers fishing communities, sparks concerns over sovereignty and piracy"

A new fishing deal signed between the Somalia government and vessels tied to the China Overseas Fisheries Association raises serious questions. Some Somalis, particularly those in the fishing community, worry that their livelihoods will be gutted, while others fear a return of piracy in the Gulf of Aden. "It’s shocking to see the ministry of fisheries signing such a one-sided contract with a Chinese company,” said Abdirizak Mohamed, a Somali MP representing the coastal Hirshabelle region, 40 kilometres north of Mogadishu, the capital. “It actually gives China the advantage,” he told RFI.

While the agreement requires the use of trackers so that vessels stay within the nautical boundaries of the deal, there is serious concern that the Somali fishing community will lose out because the ministry will not be able to monitor the catch. Some people are also concerned that the use of trackers will not go far enough to ensure the boundaries outlined in the deal are respected. “I don’t see any credible Somali control mechanism emerging in the foreseeable future. This has to be based on the trust between the Chinese government and the Somali government - it’s a long shot,” said Stig Jarle Hansen, professor of international relations at the University of Life Sciences in Oslo.