Somali Pirates & Incidental Conservation

This is, indeed, irony in the truest definition of the word. I follow the piracy issue closely so when I heard a blurb on CNN about Somalia, I was ready for the latest reported hi-jacking / kidnapping / ransom news, of which, there is no shortage.

The International Maritime Bureau's Piracy Reporting Center states that 250 crew members are still being held hostage, as we speak. Intelligence sources believe the number of vessels held presently is about 15.

Image from: Somalia - 'Pirates Love Fish'

However, here's an interesting twist that has sprung from the interminable scourge that is Somalian Piracy. Their relentless campaign has scared away the international trawlers who were, in less pirate-infested times, decimating Kenya’s fish stocks. As a result, local fishing is thriving again.

Sam Farmer did a revealing piece on this, some of which I caught on the CNN segment. In it, marine biologist and conservationist, Steve Trott, makes a direct correlation between the retreat of the factory ships and revived fish stocks, stating:

'All the indicators are there that the fishery is recovering. I think that is the strongest indicator yet that these commercial scale fleets have been having a destructive impact on our Kenyan fisheries'.

From Farmer's piece, 'With only one patrol boat at their disposal, and thousands of miles of ocean, preventing illegal fisheries has been an impossible task for the Kenyan fishery department. Something, ironically, the pirates are taking care of.

On this occasion, it's the Kenyan locals, not the pirates who are jumping for joy and are enjoying an unexpected gold rush'.

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