Somali waters are home to some of the richest fishing grounds in Africa, with vast potential for fisheries and coastal area development. However, the sector remains underdeveloped due to lack of skills among fishermen to go deep into sea water, lack of modern tools (boats and fishing gears) and lack of organisation among the fishermen.

While for the first time in over two decades, offshore fishing licenses were issued, legally and transparently, by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) of the Federal Government of Somalia to foreign vessels, for the exclusive exploitation of tuna and tuna-like species beyond 24 nautical miles from Somalia’s coast, outside of the zone reserved for Somali fishers, these still remain among the poorest and most marginalized members of Somali society. It is necessary to work on a national fish resource management plan, covering small and large fisheries, in line with marine sustainability and environmental protection and to fight IUU. This last activity, together with a proper environmental traceability, will enhance commercial exchange with foreign countries and the development of the local economy and employment. Culturally specific gender roles frequently dictate the role of women in fisheries production, and this directly affects the degree to which fisheries contribute to food security. It is important to support women’s economic success in fishing to establish prosperous fishing communities, because women’s incomes from fisheries contribute to household food security more directly than men’s because women traditionally contribute a greater portion of their earnings towards feeding their families.

HOPE aims to support the empowerment of the fishing and aquaculture industries and cooperatives.