Thursday, December 1, 2011

Piracy or a resource swap?

"It's almost like a resource swap. Somalis collect up to $100 million a year from pirate ransoms off their coasts. And the Europeans and Asians poach around $300 million a year in fish from Somalia waters."  Peter Lehr, St. Andrew's University.
In the 1980s the Somali fishing industry was steadily expanding, then in 1991 the civil war began and what was described by the UN as a free-for-all took place in the waters off Somalia.

Foreign fishing vessels began to turn the “Somali seabed into a wasteland” and most of the world ignored what was happening.1

One response by some Somali communities was the creation of local coast-guards to police their waters. At this time, in the early 1990s, it was common to talk of the vigilante Somali coast-guards fighting against the international pirate fleet. And when an illegal ship was caught in Somali waters, it was fined. The ship was held until the penalty was paid.

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