A local coastal police force in northeastern Somalia of Puntland have seized 78 illegal fishermen from Iran on Tuesday during a hunt operation near Boosaasso town, the region’s main seaport, RBC Radio reports.
Puntland Marine Police Force [PMPF] also confiscated five trawlers and 12 Somali natives who were assisting the Iranian illegal fishermen as their bodyguards, the commander of the police said.
“After leading information from locals, the marine police of Puntland launched counter – illegal fishing in our coast. The forces succeeded to arrest 78 Iranians illegally fishing in the Somali coast with their trawlers." Also we have apprehended 12 men who are Somali aiding the Iranians.” the commander of PMPF Abdirisak Diriye Farah told reporters in Boosaasso on Wednesday.
He said the operation took place between Ceelaayo and Qaw, two coastal villages on the Red Sea, 45-kms west of Boosaasso town.
“Illegal fishing is becoming common nowadays. We have noticed that these trawlers have unloaded illegal fish from Somalia, this is their second time.” Farah added.
The police presented 78 Iranians and their 12 Somali aides late on Wednesday inside a tent in the PMPF’s base outside Boosaasso town.
According to the officials the seized men and their trawlers will be charged for illegal fishing and entering Somali waters without permission.
Tuesday’s anti illegal fishing came after repeated complaints from local fishermen people in coastal areas of Puntland claiming that illegal foreign fishing has become rampant and called for urgent intervention.
Puntland officials earlier warned against foreign illegal fishing and waste dumping into its coastal areas.
Following the collapse of former central government in Somalia in 1991, the country has experienced rampant piracy as the United Nations and other international and national bodies have expressed great concern on non-stop illegal fishing an dumping toxic waste from foreign vessels into the Somali waters.