Fish Wealth in Yemen [Archives:2001/12/Business & Economy]

March 19 2001

Ahmed M’d Abdul Hai
General Manger
Personal and Training Dept.
Fish Wealth Ministry.
The fish industry is one of the basic, if not the main sources of wealth in Yemen. Its importance is derived from the ease and speed in dealing with this resource, and its availability due to Yemen’s coastal area which exceeds 2500 sq. km. Moreover, there is good potential regarding man power available in this field as more than 41 thousand persons are working in this industry.
Figures show that in 97/98 fish wealth was rated as the second highest exported commodity in Yemen among thirty others. This reflects the areas involved in this industry, which is more than 90 villages distributed along the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean shores.
The current situation of fish wealth in Yemen:
Presidential decree No. 147 for the year 1995 reorganized the status of the Fish Wealth Ministry, merging it with two main bodies under the provision of the General Administration for General Establishments and Cooperative Communities. These bodies are:
1. General Establishments: related to the general sector with its independent law and budget.
2. Cooperative Communities: which also have an independent law of their own categorized under the private sector regulations.
Therefore, it is necessary that the two sectors are separated so as to give each a better chance to improve and develop, especially given that their systems are independent.
The Cooperative Establishments need more focus and attention mainly because they have the wider spread of the two and especially in view of the fact that the man power involved in it consists of fishermen and women who lack basic education and training.
This very sector is again divided into two subdivisions: The General Administration for Community, Corporations and Marine Guidance, and the General Administration for Coastal Woman.
This sector fulfills a number of jobs or tasks such as:
– Suggesting policies and programs which aim at the development of the fish wealth and the industry as a whole. Working on implementing these projects in corporation with the Fish Wealth Ministry and the general sector.
– Encouraging fishermen and women to participate in these projects and to set up small industries of their own in order to improve their living conditions.
– Conducting regular field visits, preparing periodic reports for higher authorities, and finding quick remedies for problems faced by fishermen. They also monitor and carry on sudden inspections to maintain discipline and environmental control.
– Following-up international projects and participating in regional meetings so as to take advantage of the latest technologies and experience of other countries, as well as fish-associated organizations.
– Encouraging women working in the fish industry through conducting special projects and courses for rehabilitation, and relevant vocational training.
– Utilizing the wide coastal areas in Yemen and establishing fish cultures and fisheries for investment and export.
Cooperative Communities Support Fund:
The creation of such a fund is very important in order to provide a kind of financial security for fishermen and their families in case of injuries, handicap, or even death, along with giving financial support in case of sudden illness or for buying a boat or covering expenses for marriage.. etc.
This fund could be established by fishermen themselves through monthly contributions, as well as by the community and the government allocating a percentage of the marine income to this fund. International NGOs and other countries could participate as well.
From the above discussion, the general outlook of fish wealth in Yemen may be clear. It also highlights the necessity of activation of this industry. The creation of a regional council which takes care of the fish industry is necessary in order to utilize the huge coastal area which Yemen enjoys. There could be great benefits derived from this industry provided the right strategies are worked out and implemented.