Iranian fleet ‘illegally fishing in Somalia’


Abdi Dahir BBC Monitoring, Nairobi

A fleet of Iranian fishing vessels has been detected operating in Somali waters, according to the Somalia’s government and two non-governmental organisations.

One of the organisations, Global Fishing Watch, termed it as one of the world’s largest illegal fishing operations. It said nearly 200 Iranian vessels were detected in Somali and Yemeni waters.

The Somalia government, in a statement, said the large fleet of Iranian-flagged vessels had engaged in “unreported” and “unregulated” fishing which pose a “significant threat to food security and economic development”.

Illegal fishing is rampant in Somali waters despite the presence of international maritime forces drawn from various countries to curb criminal activities on the Indian Ocean.

In March, Somalia warned Iran and Pakistan against illegal fishing in its waters. The government has previously arrested dozens of Iranian fishermen caught fishing in its waters.

Somalia severed diplomatic relations with Iran in 2016 after it accused Tehran of interfering in its internal affairs and threatening its national security.