- Title: WESTERN SAHARA: Fishing industry strives to remain afloat
- Date: 25th July 2007
- Summary: VARIOUS OF TRADITIONAL FISHING TRAWLERS ON THE BEACH VARIOUS OF FISHERMEN PUSHING A TRAWLER INTO THE SEA PEOPLE STANDING ON THE SHORE LOOKING OUT TO SEA FISHING NET TRAWLERS TIED UP AT QUAYSIDE MEN STANDING BY TRAWLERS VARIOUS OF FISHERMAN STANDING ON TRAWLERS BY QUAYSIDE FISH (SOUNDBITE) LAFGHIR YAHDEH, A MEMBER OF THE SOCIETY OF TRADITIONAL FISHERMEN, SAYING: "I sincerely hope that more youngsters are involved in this scheme because in all honesty, it's the only solution to the problems facing youngsters in the area like unemployment and the other social problems. I am convinced that this project will be successful if everything is done in an organised way".
- Embargoed: 9th August 2007 13:00
- Location: Western Sahara
- Country: Western Sahara
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA2RAX8G1V9S53COYGM8ZNIUZPW
- Story Text: The waters of the Atlantic Ocean bordering the Western Sahara are considered among the richest in the world. It is no longer just the well-equipped foreign and Moroccan vessels that operate in the area catching most of the fish. Local fishermen using traditional methods are also taking to the high seas.
Made up of mostly desert, the Western Sahara has few natural resources.
As well as fishing there are also phosphate deposits. Tourism is a potential industry, but because of the political uncertainty over the territory, an improvement in the tourism industry must wait for better days. Most of the region is under Moroccan control but that is still disputed by the the Polisario Front, which is supported by Algeria.
To tackle the high rate of unemployment among the younger generation, the Moroccan authorities and employment agencies are encouraging young locals to set up fishing co-operatives by providing them with grants and expertise.
In 2002, the Society of Traditional Fishermen was set up. Its membership now boasts 246 people from the surrounding territory. Chairman, Sidi Mohammed al-Alaoui said that the scheme is doing well but definitely needs more financial aid from the authorities to truly be a success, "We need more financial help because a fishing boat with an engine costs 4,800 US Dollars and the State only give us 3,800 US dollars. This means a shortfall of 1,000 US Dollars. On top of this, we have to buy more fishing equipment," he said.
Through the project, each fisherman earns an average monthly income of around 600 dollars (USD). This amount fluctuates according to the season, but gives those involved a certain amount of self-sufficiency.
Lafghir Yahdeh, a member of the society who trades his catch at the Laayounde quayside, said he hoped more young people would get involved, "It's the only solution to the problems facing youngsters in the area like unemployment and the other social problems," he said.
The Society of Traditional Fishermen promotes professionalism in the fishermen's attitudes and hopes the growing industry will become a substantial part of the local economy which revolves around nomadic herding and phosphate mining. The society is also cooperating with the National Institure for Maritime research to achieve sustainable development and the sustainable exploitation of the fishing resources.
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