Marine and Coastal Environment
The coastline of Somalia is 3,898 kilometres long and about 55 per cent of its population lives along this coastline. With an area of continental shelf of 40,392 square kilometres and territorial sea of 68,849 square kilometres, it produces about 900 metric tonnes (1997 estimate) of molluscs and crustaceans and 20,000 metric tonnes (2000 estimate) of marine fish. The coastline consists of patches of swamp and related vegetation which includes mangroves and savannah related vegetation. The coastal and marine environments have been subjected to a variety of pressures including erosion, oil pollution, waste dumps, human settlements and the discharge of municipal waste water due to the lack of proper water and sanitation facilities.
Somali waters have a high potential for fishing. As a result, the Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister has indicated that a study by his ministry had shown a large number of foreign vessels illegally fishing in Somali waters and serious pollution caused by vessels discharging toxic waste. Heavily armed foreign boats have often tried to exploit the breakdown of law and order in Somalia since the overthrow of President Mohammed Siad Barre in 1991 by fishing in the rich Somali waters, thus depriving coastal communities of resources. However, there has not yet been any fish stock assessment undertaken for the country to enhance better management decisions for the efficient utilization of this resource.
In 2009, four years AFTER the issuance of this report and almost 20 years AFTER the demise of the government of Said Barre, the Western media is conspiring with Italian, British, Dutch, Belgian, French and other European criminals to mask dirty deeds which have stripped this impoverished region of its capacity to feed itself.
When these criticisms were laid at the door of Europe in the 1990’s, the states that benefitted from tax revenues from this criminality begged for “proof” of malfeasance. The testimony of 9 million Africans was insufficient.
In 2005, the tsunami ripped the coast apart and verified that which had been claimed for years. Now that Somalis have taken matters into their own hands — after requesting relief from the West and receiving none — they are being labeled as criminals attacking defenseless sailors.
Lies, all lies.
Europe is still stealing with relative immunity from Africa. That a handful of ships have been seized for engaging in a seedy business is no tragedy. The tragedy will be if the freedom-loving citizens of these Western states allow their respective militaries to be dragged into this fight.
This is the face of a courageous African resistance to the predations of over-capitalized and unscrupulous predators on one nation’s primary means of survival:
Somalian Maritime Defense Forces