FAO deploys “fish magnets” to boost artisanal fisheries in Somalia

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and EU's anti-piracy force said Monday they have completed the deployment of 25 "fish magnets" along Somalia's 3,300-km coastline, a move that will boost the nation's small-scale fisheries.


FAO said in a statement issued in Mogadishu that the Fish-Aggregating Devices (FADs) consist of a floating buoy and “habitat mat” a few meters across.


FAO said it worked with 20 communities as well as federal and regional ministries in Somalia to identify the deployment locations and ensure that the FADs would be accepted and well used.

Plant life quickly grows under the mat, attracting large numbers of fish and thus creating new high-density fishing grounds where none existed before.

The 25 “fish magnets” will attract many different fish species, making fishing more safe and efficient while also encouraging fishers to switch their fishing efforts away from habitats like coral reefs and sea grasses that are vulnerable to overfishing.

More than one million Somalis currently face severe food insecurity, while an estimated 307,800 children under the age of five are acutely malnourished, according to FAO data. The UN agency sees sustainable fisheries as a key element of tackling food insecurity and malnutrition in the country.

“The FADs initiative is at the heart of the work by FAO and our partners to boost coastal livelihoods, strengthen resilience and tackle the underlying causes of piracy — illegal fishing, degradation of local fisheries, high levels of youth unemployment, and food insecurity,” said Richard Trenchard, FAO representative in Somalia.

According to Trenchard, the devices should help kick-start further longer-term development support to these communities, most importantly, investment to strengthen market linkages.

“As well as expanding the FADs programme to other areas, we will be working with the ministries and the fishing communities to attract further investment for ice machines, cold storage and processing facilities, improved landing sites and better roads to bring fresh fish to markets as quickly as possible,” added Trenchard.

FAO with EU funding, plans to launch a broader program to stimulate further growth across the fisheries sector and further reduce the chances of piracy re-emerging in the future, according to the UN official. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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