In Yemen, production of fish, revenue wanes
The report found Yemen's revenues of fishery exports dropped from $272 million in 2010 to $50 million in 2011.
The report also noted that sea life production slumped in 2010 by an estimated $120 million, indicating that the political crisis encountering Yemen since the beginning of 2011 exacerbated the deterioration to 60 percent or 70 percent as in 2011 the sea life production was less than $50 million.
Yemen's fishery exports reached to $272 million in 2010 and $222 million in 2009.
Yemen is characterized by it’s 2,500 meter coastline and 450 fish and other marine creatures found in the Yemeni regional waters of the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea. However, only 60 kinds of this fishery wealth are exploited.
Ahmed Saeed Shamakh, a marine affairs expert and economist, warned against threats the fishery sector and marine life is subject to.
“This sector is supposed be to the second sector of priority following petroleum with regard to the returns,” he said. “This sector provides more than 100,000 job vacancies in the marine field, industrial fishery field, transportation and other related fields.”
He said there are many reasons behind the decline of fishery exports, including sea piracy, the presence of an international marine force that attacks fishermen by mistake, the political turbulence and the shortage of diesels and petroleum derivatives the fishermen need.
“The fishermen endure big losses,” Shamakh said. “They lose their jobs due to the existence of the international force in the Gulf of Aden; an area that makes up 70 percent of Yemen's fishery production.”
Piracy triggers insecurity economic deterioration in addition to the increase of ship insurance for international companies. The pirates and international forces who attack fishermen in the Gulf of Aden largely influenced Yemen's fishery exports decline.
Fishery wealth revenues from the exports make up 75 percent. The fish are exported to regional, European and Asian markets.
According to Aref Hamoud, a researcher in the authority, there are more than 35 plants distributed between Hodeida, Aden and Al-Mukkala; seventeen of them are authorized to export to the European Union.
Hamoud said 70 percent of fish caught in the Red Sea go to Saudi Arabia and Oman by means of modest merchants on specialized lorries.
“The poor preparation in terms of transporting the fish helps sell them cheaply.”
On Monday, an agreement between the Ministry of Fishery Wealth and Food and Agriculture Organization aimed to increase fishery production quality and fishery exports in Yemen to $442,000 using a grant from the FAO.
The project aims to elevate the abilities of fishermen preserve fish quality and sea life besides training workers to prepare and make fishery products in line with international standards.
Based on the agreement, the Fishery Cooperative Associations and the Fishery Exporting Associations will take advantage of this project. The fishery products will be marketed locally and abroad in addition to expanding the fishery plants in Yemen.