In a step to cure chronic budget deficitYemen adopts a new policy on fishing [Archives:2003/639/Business & Economy]

June 5 2003

Mahyoub Al-Kamaly

Yemen possesses a huge fish reserve the revenues of which could put an end to the chronic deficit of the state public budget which in this year has exceeded YR 60 billion. The government has reshaped a new policy pertaining to fishing and worked on marking fishing beyond the boundary of six nautical miles on the Red Sea and the Arabian Sea. The Yemeni government has approved taking measures against fishing companies inside the limits of the internal six nautical miles. Prime Minister Abdulqader Bajammal directed the ministry of fish wealth and officials in the governorates and local authorities to bear their responsibility of following up and supervising all aspects relating to fishing. The government has also stressed evaluation of fishing investment companies inside the Yemeni territorial waters and reconsidering all agreements concluded with them for fixing the added value.
Fish wealth ministry has set up working groups with relevant parties undertaking assessment a number of aspects connected with situation of the fish institutions, their administrations and their infrastructure and removal of any duality impeding investment activities in fishing sectors. The government has authorized taking necessary arrangements to tackle conditions of Shaqra factory or fish canning and Nashtoun port. The government has also abrogated all agreements of catching aquarium fish which has been proved that their owners are using ways detrimental to marine life. The latest survey studies confirmed that Yemen can get an annual income exceeding its revenues from oil wealth by $ 2 billion if the sea and fish wealth is utilized in better and more modern methods. The government, during the present legislative period extending up to 2009, also intends to depend on the fish wealth and increase the rate of fishing. Indicators point out that the volume of investment in this field is still low and dwindles during the islands. Studies make it clear that the volume of commercial utilization in the Gulf of Aden and Socotra amounts to only 130 thousand tons per year while there is a possibility of fishing approximately 400 tons a year.
Pursuant to survey reports the total area of water flats of the continental shelf suitable for fishing is estimated at 4663 square nautical miles in Aden Gulf and Socotra archipelago and about 4480 square nautical miles from Bab el Mandab to the Omani borders. The studies also reveal fish and marine life in those spacious areas are exposed to random fishing operations a matter making a huge reserve of the national wealth liable to negligence and squander. The studies have warned against continuation of dissipating the national wealth of fish in the Yemeni territorial waters, random fishing and throwing away large quantities of dead fish to the sea which causes fish migration to other habitats. The state organization for developing Yemeni islands implemented a field survey and has concluded the importance of building investment projects at those islands and exploiting the characteristics they are entertaining for increasing fish production and attracting tourists and investment projects. The government intends during the coming period to look for wealth buried inside the islands, whose number is over 150 with strategic situation and climate and their waters full of marine life.
It is important to stress here that the government has lagged behind too long in investing the fish wealth and preoccupied itself with internal issues producing no economic return. There are expectations that revenues of fishing and the marine life would lead to eliminate the budget deficit and solve the problems the fish sector is facing, especially the establishments concerned with fishing and marine research. For this reason came the government decision of fixing a six nautical miles as limits for fishing and preventing approaching it by unidentified ships.