One of the foundation
stones for the Somali economy has been the export of its fish,
with its pricey seafood, rich in protein, being served in the
finest restaurants of London, Paris and Rome.
However, with no
effective government, foreign trawlers moved into the coast off
Somalia, looting its fish stocks with no effective opposition and
effectively raiding the Somalia economy of hundreds of millions of
Ould-Abdallah, the United Nations envoy to Somalia, stated
"European ships have been looting Somalia's seas of their greatest
We have destroyed our own fish stocks by
over-exploitation and now we have moved on to theirs. More than $300 million
worth of tuna, shrimp, lobster and other sea life is being stolen every year
by vast trawlers illegally sailing into Somalia's unprotected seas."
Things were to get
worse during the 1990s with much of the population of Somalia,
particularly those living close to the sea, becoming sick and
suffering from skin rashes, hair loss, bleeding and diarrhoea. The
cause was unknown, however the Indonesian Tsunami of 2004 appeared
to reveal a terrible truth, for as the Tsunami caused waters to
roll up and then recede across the Somali coastline, strange metal
cylinders were found strewn on the beaches.
Naturally poor, the Somalis were
keen to investigate whether these cylinders contained anything of worth, but
hundreds became ill and paid with their own lives, for it was apparent that
foreign companies had been dumping toxic waste in Somalia waters safe in the
knowledge that there was no effective government to combat this abuse. This was not just any waste, it
was nuclear waste.
As Johann Hari of the UK newspaper The Independent reported
in an article entitled You Are Being Lied To About Pirates
"Yes: nuclear waste. As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European
ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the
ocean. The coastal population began to sicken. At first they suffered strange
rashes, nausea and malformed babies. Then, after the tsunami, hundreds of the
dumped and leaking barrels washed up on shore. People began to suffer from
radiation sickness, and more than 300 died."