The fishing industry in Yemen faces many structural challenges that have limited its production and potential contribution to overall economic output. Development of the industry’s infrastructure, human capacity and regulation was already poor prior to the outbreak of the ongoing armed conflict in Yemen. Since the war began five years ago the fishing industry has faced increased challenges, including a significant drop in the level of production with the displacement of many fishermen and associated workforce; fish processing plants halting production; surging fuel costs; the decline of local purchasing power leading to a drop in he local demand for fish products; and the disempowerment of the Ministry of Fish Wealth (MFW), among other challenges.
From November 26 to 28, 2019, a group of experts and fishing industry stakeholders convened in Mukalla, Hadramawt, as part of the Rethinking Yemen’s Economy Initiative, to discuss the industry’s challenges and recommend solutions. These talks discussed how the sustainable development of the industry and recovery from the impacts of the current conflict require collaboration between the government, the private sector and fishing communities, educational institutions, along with international stakeholders.
In particular, given the inability of the MFW to carry out its basic institutional functions due to the ongoing conflict, it is crucial that the ministry’s executive privileges for short-term policy making and regulation be temporarily delegated to local councils and that they be empowered to regulate the industry during the conflict. The participants also identified longer-term policies for the government and international stakeholders to revitalize the industry and enhance its capabilities.