The Greko 1, a Belize flagged fishing vessel, was observed by the EUNAVFOR forces to be operating within Somali waters for several months in 2016, with sightings reported initially to the Federal Government of Somalia via the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission.
In response to a request for assistance from the Federal Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MOFMR) of Somalia the FISH-i Africa Task Force were able to provide technical support for the inspection of the Greko 1 with the Somali authorities in Mogadishu on the morning of the 7th of October 2016. The operation was supported by both UN FAO and USAID.
The inspection confirmed that the Greko 1 had been operating in Somali waters without a valid fishing license, had operated within 24 nautical miles of the coast in an area reserved for Somali fishers, was using trawl nets – a gear type that is prohibited under the Somali Fisheries Law and was in possession of forged authorisations and licenses to operate in Somali waters.
Said Jama Mohammed, Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources stated that “Somalia is doing all it can to end illegal fishing in our waters, it is only by taking action against illegal operators and by sending a strong message that illegal fishing will not be tolerated that the Somali people will be able to reap the benefits of their fisheries resources.”
“Being part of the regional FISH-i Africa Task Force has provided us with very real support. The open sharing of information between the member countries and the opportunity to draw on technical and legal advice and expertise is vital for us as we take action against those suspected of operating illegally in our waters. We are particularly grateful to the Kenyan authorities, who reacted quickly and positively to a request made to close their port to the vessel for unloading or refurbishment of supplies. Similarly, the support the Ministry has received from Somali colleagues such as the Maritime Police Unit and Ports Ministry has been exemplary.”
Per Erik Bergh, of FISH-i Africa commented “one of the benefits that FISH-i Africa brings to its members is in providing on the ground technical support and expertise when countries need it most. Inspecting vessels that are suspected of fishing illegally can be a challenging task and we are delighted to have been able to assist the Somali authorities with gathering evidence from the Greko 1 and look forward to the resulting action.”