Location, Coastal Length and EEZ Area
The Somaliland coast lies north of the equator, between latitude 100N and latitude 110N and between longitudes 43. 15/E and longitude 490E in the Gulf of Aden. It stretches 850km with an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) area of approximately 70,000 sq.km.
Climate and weather
It is arid and hot most of the time, while precipitation is less than 50mm annually. Water Temperature is 21C in January & 37C in October. Two monsoon winds are experienced annually. South West monsoon blows June to September, while North –east blows October to March.
Major settlements along the coast
There are major settlements of fishing communities along the coast of Somaliland. Starting from west, they are: Loyado, Tokoshi, Zeila, lughaya, Elsheik, Bulahar, Geri, Berbera, Elgerdi, Karin, Shal’o, His, Mait, Laskorey, Elayo.
The western coast has wide sandy beaches, while the eastern coast has relatively narrow sandy beaches broken at intervals by rocky outcrops and cliffs. The continental shelf in the eastern coast is between 5 to 10kms wide when measured at the 200m depth line. The shelf becomes wider reaching around 30- 50kms near Zeila town area at the border with Djibouti.
Somaliland is endowed with a rich coastline along the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. These waters are home to an extensive list of fish species, including various species of tuna, albacore, lobster, swordfish, shark, and many others. Even though no comprehensive data is available, estimates from fragmented assessments point to the existence of large untapped resources in a pristine environment (IUCN 1997/99 and Cesvi 2011).
The average annual value of the potential fish catch is estimated at US$32 million, assuming a freight on Board (FOB) price of US$2 per kilogram based on current practices and sales in Gulf markets as reported in a variety of United Nations and World Bank reports (JNA, Productive Sectors Report, Sept, 2007). As per recent estimates, the yearly sustainable catch available to Somaliland fishermen could be around 40,000 metric tons (Shuraako. org).
Current Fish Production
The estimate catch by local Somaliland fishermen is around 1500 – 2000 metric tons annually. There is officially no production from the offshore fishing sector since the Ministry of Fisheries has stopped licensing foreign fishing vessels since 2012. As a result, there are no foreign vessels legally fishing in Somaliland waters at the present time.
However, it must be noted that fishing boats from neighboring countries like Yemen do still come and fish illegally in Somaliland water. These actions are being taken seriously. The actual number of boats and the quantity of fish they catch annually is difficult to determine; however it is estimated that illegal fish reaches 4800mt – 6000mt yearly. Yemenis are known to utilize wooden or plastic boats of small sizes (8-11m in length) with carrying capacities between 3mt and 7mt. They tend to be afraid of being arrested and stay far away from Somaliland fishing water in the daytime.
Somaliland is endowed with rich coastline along the Gulf of Aden and Indian Ocean. These waters are home to an extensive list of fish species, including various species of tuna, albacore, lobster, swordfish, shark, and many others.
Somaliland’s potential for expansion can be illustrated by reviewing the status of fishing sectors of nearby countries. Yemen, which shares the same sea with Somaliland has been producing 230,000, 180,000 and 174,800 metric tons in the years 2006, 2007 and 2008 respectively (World bank 2009). In the Hadramout region of Yemen which is directly opposite to the Somaliland coast, the average production of fish for the years 2003-2005 was 85,511mt. It’s therefore fair to assume that similar production is feasible in Somaliland waters provided.