Today’s headlines and stories about the latest Somali piracy don’t get into the issue, unfortunately. As detailed by Project Censored in its article, “Toxic Waste Behind Somoli Pirates”:

The international community has come out in force to condemn and declare war on the Somali fishermen pirates, while discreetly protecting the illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fleets from around the world that have been poaching and dumping toxic waste in Somali waters since the fall of the Somali government eighteen years ago. …

Paul Adujie wrote about it back in October 2009, as well, saying

According to reports, it’s estimated that $300 million worth of seafood is stolen from Somali waters altogether every year …  There are even higher estimates of $450 million dollars profits for outsiders engaged in overfishing on Somali waters.

Toxic wastes dumpers have been doing brisk business amidst and despite the chaos.

The latest activity by the Somalis reemphasizes the urgency for a solution, a holistic solution to the political vacuum

ECOP (the European Community on Protection of Marine Life) posts an article from The East Africa Magazine in 2001, reviewing what has been taking place in terms of the rich fisheries near Somalia:

… in 1991, following the collapse of the Somali government, the floodgates were opened and foreign fishing vessels from all corners of the world, from as far afield as the EU, Japan and Russia invaded the area with the sole aim of plundering Somalia’s marine resources. …

Apart from these destructive fishing practices, Somalia’s marine waters have become dumping grounds for all sorts of industrial waste, mostly toxic and radioactive in nature. Surely, by any standards, there is an environmental time bomb waiting to explode in Somalia. And, if and when the bomb explodes it will not bring down Somalia alone, but will sweep across the region like wildfire. Adjacent countries such as Kenya and Tanzania, which share wind and ocean-current regimes with Somalia, will suffer the most.

…The Somali proverb “Hashu iyadaa geella cunaysa cabaadaysana” which can be loosely translated as “the she-camel who bites other camels but at the same time screams as if she were the one being bitten” best describes the looters’ plundering and hypocritical finger-pointing tactics.

The proliferation of the fishing vessels is the root cause of the whole problem, for there was not a single hijacking incident reported in Somalia before these uninvited guests visited the area.

It is on record that a dozen or so innocent cargo ships have suffered at the hands of a few greedy, armed Somalis. However, some analysts believe that the attacks were instigated by a third party intent on discrediting the fishermen’s struggle.

Although no one can condone any kind of violence, be it piracy, resource looting or hostage taking, what Somali fishermen are doing right now to protect their resources from marauding ships is within the limits of their basic human rights. Their ultimate goal is to bring to an end to the illegitimate exploitation of the fisheries resources of Somalia


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