INFORMATION ON FISHERIES MANAGEMENT IN THE REPUBLIC OF YEMEN

February 2002


LOCATION AND MAIN LANDING PLACES

The coastline of the Republic of Yemen, which extends from the southern border of Oman on the Arabian Sea to the Saudi Arabian border on the Red Sea, is approximately 2 350 km long. In addition, the Republic of Yemen posseses many islands in the Red Sea, in the Gulf of Aden and in the Arabian Sea. The island system consisting of the Socotra Archipelago, Kamaran, Mayoon, Prim and the Huneish Archipelago is part of the territorial waters of Yemen. The long coastline of Yemen and its island archipelago system constitute the country's principal marine natural resource, providing fish products for the population,

Total landings in 1998 were 126 063 tons, valued at approximately US$130 million (based on an exchange rate of US$ = 135 YR). There are traditional fishery landings at many different locations, but there are seven centralized landing sites in the nine coastal governorates : Hajja, Alhudeida, Taiz, Lahj, Aden, Abian, Shabwa, Hadramout and Almahra (Table 1).

Table 1. Landing sites and their contribution to the total catch

Landing sites

Annual landings (1998)

Traditional Sector landings

Red Sea

45 132

Lahj

1 468

Aden

3 076

Abian

3 586

Shabwa

1 615

Hadramout

30 633

Al-mahara

22 695

Subtotal

108 205

Industrial landings

17 858

Grand total

126 063


Table 2. Fishing villages, the number of fishermen and the number of boats

Name of village

Number of fishermen

Number of boats

Midi

475

86

Aklan Isl.

100

28

Alluhia

320

120

Ibin Abass

500

192

Alharonia

500

36

Asaleef

480

63

Kamaran

500

100

Ras Eesa

384

28

Krag

487

47

Al-hudaida

7 000

500

Almazina

300

81

Alkataba

950

150

Abozahr

300

167

Alkhoka

4 000

300

Mushag

250

90

Alwahja

700

300

Alzhri

200

18

Almlk

20

6

Yakhthi

100

40

Almakha

392

57

Dubab

450

61

Jarya

700

900

Alsueda

140

20

Ras Alara

525

105

Khorumeira

360

91

Kaawa

255

79

Imran

777

249

Fuqum

636

144

Alkhaisa

600

260

Seera

400

280

Hussen beleed

332

41

Zungbar

280

70

Albander

285

82

Shuqura

1 200

330

Bir Ali

750

216

Almukalla

2 172

1 080

Alshihir

1 510

715

Alkhor

600

180

Alhami

500

165

Addees

677

150

Kuseir

1 060

341

Alraida

368

161

Mussaina

566

115

Saihut

1 200

180

Kishin

600

233

Algida

1 500

151

Socotra

1 500

905

Total

9 057

41 322

The overall objectives for the sector are :

  • Rational use of the marine resources;

  • Protect marine resources within the Economic Zone ( EZ) for the benefit of the country;

  • Promote scientific fisheries research;

  • Cooperate with neighboring countries in the management of shared and migratory stocks;

  • Develope and improve fisheries extension, especially in fishing gear, fish processing and fish quality;

  • Promote aquaculture experiments;

  • Develope and modernize the fisheries sector;

  • Enhance economic diversification of the country through fisheries development;

  • Develop fisheries exports and improve their quality;

  • Ensure effective enforcement of existing fisheries laws and regulations;

  • Protect the coral reef and other environments;

  • Develop aquaculture projects and encourage investment in this field;

  • Cooperate with neighboring and regional countries in implementing studies on marine pollution in order to protect the marine environment.

MAIN MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS FOR MAJOR FISHERIES

The Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea waters are characterized by high bio-productivity, due to the southwest monsoon winds during the summer and solar radiation. They represent a unique and large ecosystem that deserves a high degree of scientific attention.

The coastal waters of Yemen are also characterized by their high level of primary and secondary production, making them an important feeding and nursery ground for marine species, where more than 600 species of fish and marine organisms have recently been recorded.

Large Pelagic Fisheries

There are different species of pelagic fish in Yemen waters, the principal ones being tuna (yellowfin tuna, bonita tuna, skipjack tuna), kawa kawa, king and Spanish mackerel, trevallies, swordfish and marlin). These pelagics are mainly caught by the artisan fisheries.

The estimated total catch in 1998 was 126 063 tons. In order to catch the large pelagics, fixed gill nets are used as well as longlines, handlines, purse seines and trolls. There are no regulations controlling the harvesting of these fish, as the fishing season lasts the entire year .

Small Pelagic Fisheries

The main small pelagic fish are sardines, indian mackerel, chub mackerel and anchovies. These fish are caught by the artisan fisheries using purse seines, beach seines and coast nets. Industrial fishery vessels mainly caught chub mackerel by using trawls. In 1989, the catch of chub mackerel by industrial fleets amounted to approximately 24 000 tons, but no industrial fisheries have caught this fish since that year.

The estimated catch of small pelagics in 1998 was approximately 30 000 tons. Specific regulations are in force today for controlling the harvesting of sardines in certain Government districts such as Hadramout. such as the prohibition against the use of purse seines in certain months, or at night.

Demersal Fisheries

The most important demersal fishes in Yemen waters are: groupers, emperors, scavengers, snappers, sea breams, barracuda, sharks and rays. Demersal fish are caught by both traditional and industrial vessels.

The total catch of these fish in 1998 was estimated at 63 700 tons, including 79% from artisan fishery and 21% from industrial fishery. Artisan fishermen use gill nets, handlines and traps to catch demersals, while industrial fishing vessels use trawls to catch them.

The management measures with regard to industrial fisheries include:

  • The fishing vessels must operate beyond five miles from the coast in the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea, and beyond six miles from the coast in the Red Sea.

  • No discarding of fish is allowed.

  • Two or more supervisors must be deployed on board each of the fishing vessels.

  • The mesh size for the cod end should measure not less than 75 mm, and nets must be single layered.

Crustacean and Mollusc Fisheries

Two commercial species of lobster inhabit Yemen waters, namely, rock lobsters (Panulirus hamarus) and deep sea lobsters (Puerulus sewelli).

The total catch of rock lobster for the year 2000 was 200 tons. The traditional fishermen catch rock lobsters using traps. The principal lobster regions are in the Almahra and Hadramout Governorates in East Yemen. Due to the decline in catch after 1992, and as a management measure, a closed season is now in force during the breeding and reproduction period from 30 March to 31 October of each year. Other management measures include:

  • Only traps can be used for harvesting rock lobster. Nets or any other fishing gear are prohibited.

  • Egg-bearing females must be returned to the sea.

  • Rock lobster less than 19 cm. long cannot be harvested.

  • No more than 60 traps can be used by a single boat.

  • The mesh size of traps must measure less than 6 cm.

  • Deep sea lobsters were caught by industrial fishing vessels offshore from 1975-1989 at depths ranging from 300-700 m. The total catch in 1989 amounted to approximately 200 tons. No industrial fishing for deep sea lobsters has been carried out since 1990 .

Shrimp fisheries

Two commercially-fished coast shrimp species are found in Yemen waters, namely, Peneus indicus and Peneus semisulcatus. The major catches are in the Red Sea, when the shrimp are present in large schools. The shrimp are mainly caught by artisan fishermen using nets such as trawls, which are pulled by small boats (8-10 m long). The shrimp catch in the Red Sea in 1988 was estimated at 600 tons. In the Arabian Sea, there is only one narrow area about 30 km long in the Almahara Governate where commercial schools of shrimp can be found. The shrimp catch in this area in the year 2000 year was 130 tons.

The regulations controlling shrimp harvesting are:

  • The fishing season for coast shrimp runs from 1 September to 30 April each year.

  • Coast shrimp can only be caught by artisan fishermen, and not by industrial fishing vessels.

Deep sea shrimps

About nine species of deep sea shrimp are found in Yemen waters, offshore along the coast in the Gulf of Aden. The total catch in 1989 was approximately 400 tons. No fishing vessels harvested deep sea shrimp after 1989.

Cuttlefish fishery

There are two commercial species in Yemen waters, namely, Sepia pharaonis and Sepia prashadi, with Sepia pharaonis representing more than 80% of the catch.

Both the artisan and industrial fishing craft catch cuttlefish. The total catch in 1998 was 4 000 tons, increasing to 10 000 tons in 2000 (8 000 from industrial fishery and 2 000 from artisan fishery). Industrial fishery uses large trawls, while artisan fishery uses traps and bottom lines .

Management Regulations for Cuttlefish:

  • The fishing season runs 1 June to 15 August, and closes until 30 September (during the spawning season). The fishing season then continues until 30 April.

  • Implementing the cuttlefish survey program in May, in order to ascertain stock assessment, the allowable yearly catch and fishing activities.

Shark and Ray Fishery

More than 80 species of sharks and 40 species of rays and skates can be found in Yemen waters, particularly around Socotra Island. Most of the large catches are made by artisan fishermen using bottom lines and gill nets. The dried fins of sharks are exported to East Asian countries. The flesh of sharks and rays is a delicacy for many people in Yemen, particularly in the East Governorates. The total catch for these species amounted to 3 965 tons in 1998.

Other Fishery

This includes a small traditional fishery for sea cucumbers, which are caught by hand. The entire catch is then dried and exported. The sea cucumber is fished in commercial quantities in the west of Aden, in the Khor Umera and Ras Alara areas. The total catch in 1997 was estimated at five tons of dried sea cucumber. The entire catch was exported to Japan and East Asian countries .

GOVERNMENT STRATEGY

The main goals of the Government's strategy for fisheries include:

  • Rational exploitation and sustainable use of marine resources, to be achieved through the maintenance and development of fishery coast management, fishery research and fisheries extension.

  • Increasing the fisheries contribution to national income by the development of fish exports, technology transfer and infrastructure completion.

  • Enhancing the private sector role in fisheries development and expanding its activities in infrastructure completion.

  • Increasing the contribution of fisheries to food security, to be achieved through increasing the annual catch and improving fish distribution throughout the country.

  • Construction of new coast fishing facilities in those regions which were not included in previous projects.

  • Supporting supervision and marine surveillance by utilising modern equipment and enhancing its role in implementing fisheries regulations.

  • No taxes are imposed on the fisheries sector. There are however certain nominal fees to be paid by exporters, namely 2% for the health certificate regarding fish quality, based upon the total value of the fish exported. The industrial fisheries sector must also pay fees for fishing licenses, as well as fees based upon the quantity of fish caught by the vessels. These fees are calculated according to the vessel's gross tonnage.

INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS

Enforcement

The enforcement of fisheries legislation is carried out by the Ministry of Fish Wealth, with the assistance of the Coast Guard (Ministry of the Interior) and the Ministry of Defense. The Ministry of Fish Wealth, as the country's primary fisheries development and management organization, collaborates with other ministries such as the Ministry of Tourism and Environment, the Ministry of Transport and Marine Affairs, the Ministry of Planning and Development, as well as with the Sana'a, Aden, Hudeida and Hadramout Universities.
The constraints present in fisheries management include its weakness in key fisheries information gathering, processing and utilization, as well as a serious weakness in enforcing fisheries laws and regulations.

Fishing Regulations

The activities carried out by the fisheries sector are organized and governed by Aquatic Law No. 42 issued in 1991, which regulates the fishing and exploitation organisms and their protection. This law includes the following sections: fishing, licenses, fishing regulations, processing and marketing, aquaculture, protection, violations and penalties and general provisions. The regulations also deal with the different kinds of licenses, fishing gear, and fish processing and quality control.

Ministry Council Decisions

  • No. 232 issued in 1997 regarding the regulation of fishing and the exploitation of rock lobsters and shrimps.

  • No. 137 - an Agreement with regard to the executive regulations of law No. 42 (1991).

  • No. 138 issued in 1998 - an Agreement on the fees for operating fishing vessels.

  • No. 35 issued in 1998 - an Agreement on the executive regulations regarding the export of fish products.

In addition, ministerial decisions are issued every year regarding the opening and closing of the fishing seasons for the important commercial fish such as rock lobster, coast shrimp and cuttlefish.

INVESTMENT IN FISHERIES

During the past fourteen years, gross investment in the fisheries sector amounted to approximately US$276 million (1 600 million Y.R). Two fishery ports have been constructed in Aden and in Nishtoon using these funds.

Government investment has also been directed toward the creation of fishing harbours, ice plants, workshops, cold storage facilities, shelters, research, training, fish quality control centers and canning plants. These projects were funded through Fisheries Projects I, II, III and IV, financed by the I.D.A., the World Bank, the European Community and IFAD, as well as by the cooperation agreements between Yemen and other countries and organizations such as the former Soviet Union, Japan and the Islamic Bank.

UNDP and FAO collaborated in fishery extension by means of small programmes and TCPs to improve the level of fishing cooperatives and individuals. The Agriculture - Fisheries Encouragement Production Fund supports certain fisheries projects in regions along the coast, in order to upgrade the economic, social and technical standards of the traditional fishermen and their families, and to guarantee the optimal utilization of fish products. This has had a significant impact on the modernization of the traditional inshore fishing fleet. Aware of the importance of research in fisheries development, the Government provided the financing for a new research vessel. In addition, the Agriculture - Fisheries Encouragement Production Fund provided the financing (31 million YR) for upgrading the Aquaculture Research Centre.

SUPPLY AND DEMAND PROJECTIONS

Yemen is considered to be completely self-sufficient in fish and fish products, with a surplus of not less than 20% of its minimum level. The annual per caput consumption of fish in 1998 was 7.4 kg. Approximately one-fifth of its fish production is exported, mainly to Europe, Japan, Jordan and other countries.

Fisheries product exports for 1998 were estimated at 29 858 tons, valued at US$40 000 million. There is no need for Yemen to import fish products, as they are available in large quantities on the local market. A small amount of canned and smoked fish was imported for supermarkets and hotels.

Table 3. Fish Production, Consumption and Export Projections (tons)

Year

Production

Consumption

Export

2001

149 500

126 594

22 906

2002

167 509

141 854

25 655

2003

189 285

160 105

29 180

2004

215 785

182 581

33 204

2005

245 152

206 898

38 254

2025

956 805

765 444

191 361


CONTACTS

Addresses of the Ministry of Fish Wealth and Marine Science and Resources Research Centre:

Ministry of Fish Wealth (MFW), Sana'a:
Tel : 268581, 502374
Fax : 268581, 268588

Marine Science and Resources Research Center, Aden:
P.O. Box 1231
Tel : 231583, 231222
Fax: 231223

ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE OF THE NATIONAL FISHERIES AUTHORITY

Ministry of Fish Wealth

The Ministry of Fish Wealth (Headquarters in Saana', 146 employees) includes the following General Departments and positions:

  • The Minister
  • Deputy Minister
  • Deputy Minister of Production and Marketing Services
  • General Department of Planning and Statistics
  • Gen. Department of Supervision and Marine Surveillance
  • Gen. Department of Corporations and Cooperatives
  • Gen. Department of Legal Affairs
  • Gen. Department of Coast Women
  • Gen. Department of Finance
  • Gen. Department of Employees
  • Department of information

The Ministry has eight offices in the Coast Governorates:
Haja (nine employees), Alhudaeida (ten employees), Taiz (eight employees), Aden (859 employees), Abian (32 employees), Shabwa (33 employees), Hadramout (164 employees) and Almahra (43 employees).s).

The Ministry has the following affiliates:

  • A public service and marketing corporation in Aden (970 employees); it has three branches in Aden, Hadramout and Hudaida, as well as a service and maintenance unit there.

  • Coast fishing corporation in Aden, (497 employees); it has three branches in Hadramout, Almahara and Hudaida.

  • Fish canning factory in Hadramout (170 employees).

  • Marine Science and Resources Research Centre in Aden (170 employees); it has two branches in Hadramout and Hudaida, and two affiliates:
    - Marine Aquaculture Research Centre in Aden.
    - Marine Environment Centre in Aden.

  • Central fish quality laboratory in Aden (nine employees).

  • Fish wealth training institute in Aden (40 employees).