FAO begins deploying “fish magnets” to help Somali coastal communities

A local fisherman in Bossaso, Somalia

Mombasa, Kenya 25 fish-aggregating devices (FADs) will create new fishing opportunities, boosting incomes, food security, and nutrition

Somalia’s small-scale artisanal fishermen will be catching more fish in the coming years as the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization moves to deploy 25 Fish-Aggregating Devices (FADs) in the East African country’s coastal waters.

The FADs consist of a large buoy attached to a floating “mat” a few metres across. Plant life quickly grows under the mat which in turn attracts large numbers of fish – acting as a “fish magnet”.

The devices anchored to the seabed will provide Somalia’s artisanal fishermen with a low-cost way to access nutritious and often high-value oceanic fish species that they otherwise struggle to find.

The effort is being funded by Japan and Switzerland, while the European Union Naval Forces of Operation Atalanta -- which has a regional role in combatting piracy -- are offering protection and logistical support for the vessel that is deploying the FADs.

FAO worked with 20 fishing communities and federal and regional ministries in Somalia to identify the locations where the FADS will be placed and ensure that they will be accepted and well used by fishing communities.

The deployment exercise will wrap up on 1 December.

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