Fishing during war? – The impact of war on Yemeni fisheries
Dr. Moosa Elayah (firstname.lastname@example.org )Researcher, Centre for International Development Issues Nijmegen (CIDIN), Radboud University
Dr. Lau Schulpen: Researcher, Centre for International Development Issues Nijmegen (CIDIN), Radboud University
Mr. Taha Yaseen Researcher, Doha Institute for Strategic Studies
This study published by Fisheries Conflicts: Case Studies. A series of illustrative narratives daylighting fisheries-related disputes around the world that identify drivers, actors, mitigation strategies and likeliness of increased intensity or frequency. Authored by members of the Fisheries Conflict Research Consortium, a research collective directed by Secure Fisheries: https://ucsdonline.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapSeries/index.html?appid=1d694c00fecc42759f6605837c386354. The Center for Governance and Peace-building re-published this study because of the importance of its topic to the current reality of war and conflict in Yemen.
After seizing power in Sana’a, the capital of Yemen, in late September 2014, the Houthi rebellion extended its control over other Northern areas in the country bordering the Red Sea. As a consequence, fishing, shipping lines and commercial corridors in the Red Sea were severely destabilised; a situation that only worsened after a Saudi-led coalition launched a military intervention under the name ‘Operation Decisive Storm’ in the beginning of 2015 to restore the legitimate rule of the internationally recognised president of Yemen Abdu Rabu Mansoor Hadi. On top, terrorist group seized the opportunity and increased their activities in this vital sea region adding to the dwindling security situation. Both for national and international security, the Red Sea is of major importance. Internationally because it is the shortest route between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean and good for maritime trade worth some US$ 700 billion annually. Nationally because controlling, for instance, the port of Hudaydah – the second port of Yemen after Aden –means control on major supply lines to the capital Sana’a and other northern governorates.
Apart from from military and security issues, the Red Sea is also of high importance due to its huge fish wealth on which many Yemeni fishermen rely as a major for life and livelihoods of their families. Now, work, income, food and nutrition are under imminent threat and got impacted as large areas of Yemen’s beaches and coasts have become a theatre of military operations and restricted areas. In this contribution, we delve deeper into the consequences of the ongoing war for the Yemeni fishing sector: to what extent do actions by the Houthi movement, the Saudi-led coalition and terrorist groups threaten the ability of fishermen to exercise their daily activities; what is the effect on the hunger and levels of starvation in Yemen, and what is the impact of war of the fishing sector in the country? We use secondary data to provide a first and tentative answer to such questions. The first section then reviews the importance of the fisheries sector to Yemeni society and economy. Section 2 presents the main challenges facing fishermen and section 3 tackles the negative impact of a collapsed fisheries sector on the reality of hunger and famine in Yemen.
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