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Danish business helps Somali fishermen

Danish business helps Somali fishermen

29-04-2013 14:00:00

A purely private Danish development initiative demonstrates that there are alternatives to crime and piracy in the Gulf of Aden. The group behind the initiative call themselves Somali Fair Fishing (SFF). Shipowner Per Gullestrup from Clipper and the West Jutland fisherman Kurt Berthelsen are leading figures for the group.

"Within six months, we managed to raise money and equipment enough to already in the autumn being able to conduct a trial and prove to the local fishermen in Berbera that you can do fishing as a good and profitable business", says Per Gullestrup to Politiken.

The shipping company Maersk has delivered five refrigerated containers at the port of the city of Berbera. Danish Crown and Espersen A / S have contributed with prepared equipment like stainless steel tables, knives, sinks, rubber boots, cooler boxes and pallet trucks to be used in a smaller fish factory by the port. Falck has contributed with three lifeboats. Other companies contribute with container transport, which has a value of close to DKK 400,000.

With daytime temperatures in Somalia of 35 to 45 degrees, much of the fishermen's catched fish are ruined because they lack refrigeration facilities. Therefore, one of Somali Fair Fishing’s first goals was to buy an ice machine in China.

"The ice maker is a key factor. If the fish are treated properly from the hook to the dining table, the value, and the fishermen, can triple their yields already in the autumn", says fisherman Knud Berthelsen, who has been involved in similar projects in Kazakhstan and Eritrea.

Despite help from several Danish companies and a generous sum from shipping magnate Per Gullestrup, half a million kroner are missing for the operation after the trial period. Danida has refused to grant money to the project, on the grounds that the organization does not have available funds.

"It's just too bad for Danida that they will not be part of something that probably will be a success", says Søren Hougaard, who has previously been the Red Cross' East Africa-chief and chairman of Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke.

Source: Politiken

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