Yemen’s Location and Coasts [The Source: - ] Yemen’s Location and Coasts
Yemen’s coastal strip extends from the Yemeni-Omani border in the Arabian Sea to the Yemeni-Saudi border in the Red Sea spanning 9 coastal governorates ( 3 along the Red Sea and 6 along the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea).  The coastal strip is around 2,112 km in addition to mountainous and sandy landscape and Wadi terrain pouring into the sea forming gulfs making an additional 20% of the coastline.  Therefore, the total length of Yemen’s coastal strip exceeds 2,500 km according to the fisheries map.  Villages and population settlements of traditional fishermen and fishing landing sites along the coast and islands exceed 90 sites of which 40 are on the Red Sea and the rest on the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea.  The number of traditional fishermen exceeds 41,000 supporting 201, 000 members of their families.  Those fishermen own more than 10,000 engine driven fishing boats of different sizes and fishing equipment.
The quantity of fish and other marine life being fished is estimated at around 127,000 tons of which 79% is fished by traditional fishermen at a value of about 21 billion riyals.  This value reflects the significance of traditional fishermen as a productive segment in the national economy.  Fish production also contributes in lessening the financial burden incurred from the import of red and white meat to cover the needs of the population..  Fish export revenues come second after oil exports.
Fish Stock, Production and Types
Several studies and research were conducted over the last three decades on fish resources along Yemen’s coasts of the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea.  These studies confirmed fish and marine life richness of Yemen’s coasts and territorial waters, which contain commercial quantities of surface and deep-water fish.  It is possible to fish approximately 320,000 tons without damaging the stock of fish and other marine life.  Commercial and conventional fishing focus on fishing rock crabs, shrimp and cattle fish due to their high market value and increasing world.
Development of Fishing Methods
Fishing in Yemen had long been practiced.  Fishing methods developed with human evolution.  Most recently, fishing methods developed as follows:
    *      fishing method (wooden boats of 4-5 meters using wooden oars);
    *      fishing boats using small powered engines of 8 horse power;
    *      substitution of wooden fishing boats with fiberglass made boats equipped with engines of 15-40 horse power;
    *      the introduction of fiberglass in manufacturing 15-meter boats with necessary equipment and ice storage.
The evolution of conventional fishing is characterized with improvement of production efficiency and the increase in the number of fishermen (between 4-5) on a small boat and at least 10 on an upgraded boat.
The development of conventional fishing methods received the support of the government which implemented a set of projects on the development of conventional fishing and the development of fish villages in coastal regions (Fisheries III and IV).  Fish was based on a market mechanism, which enabled diversification of importation of high productivity, and less costly fishing equipment.  Mixed and private sector and foreign companies work in commercial fishing off the coasts of Yemen using large and fully equipped boats.  The number of these boats used for commercial fishing is around 122.
Fisheries Cooperatives
The number of cooperative associations is usually a measures of the development of cooperative activities.  Fisheries cooperatives have increased from 20 cooperatives in 1990 to 62 by the end of 1999.  The government promotes the establishment of cooperatives as socio-economic, democratic, voluntary and independent organizations.  The 4th Plenary Meeting of Fisheries Cooperatives was held in June 1999 in Sana’a.  A prepatory committee was established to consider the formation of a Fisheries Cooperatives Union.
The government supports cooperative activities in this vital sector through the establishment of services and provision of soft loans for the purchase of fishing equipment and accessories.  Fisheries cooperatives have achieved tangible progress in terms of organizing and managing fishermen gatherings in coastal villages, developing the technical skills and improving the livelihood of their members and discouraging internal migration to urban centers.  Consequently, the number of fishermen, cooperatives and fishing boats increased noticeably during the past few years.
Achievements in the Fisheries Sector
Fisheries policies have centered on the development of institutions in the sector and the completion of necessary infrastructure, efficient management and maintenance of fishing sites.  Policies have also encouraged all sectors including the private sector to increase fish production, develop the fishing industry and fishing products to meet the growing needs and increased demand of the domestic market and to bolster fish exports.  Production of the different types of fish and other marine life has increased over recent years to reach 139,000 tons in 1999.
The government continued to invest in the development of the fisheries infrastructure, fisheries institutions and marketing and the development of fishing ports.  The government also supported relevant research institutions and fisheries extension services, quality control, training centers and fish processing.  Government investment also addressed the rehabilitation of fisheries establishments so as to safeguard the sustainability of necessary services for the conventional and commercial fishing fleet.
The last ten years witness speedy implementation of fisheries projects at an investment of 5.7 billion riyals in addition to allocating 1.8 billion riyals in the 2000 Investment Budget for the development of the sector.
Fisheries Projects
The project on the development of fisheries cooperatives in the eastern coastal region of Yemen (known as Fisheries IV) is one of the most important projects in the fisheries sector.  The project began in 1990.  Actual implementation of the project began in June of 1992 and should be completed in 2000.  The project costs 6.3 billion riyals.  It includes the introduction of coastal facilities in six fishing villages (Al Mukala, Al Shehr, Al Hami, Al Garn, and Al Musayna’a) in Hadhramout and Sayhout in Al Mahara.  Other components include the establishment of modern yards for the reception and preparation of fish, ice production factories of 10 tons/day capacity, warehouses for ice and cooling storage for fish, water and fuel tanks, administration offices, depots and work equipment.
The project also included the construction and pavement of several roads to facilitate transport, marketing and sale of fish.  It built three training centers for coastal women for sewing and embroidery training purposes and imported 1,700 powered boat engines and sewing and fishing equipment. The project also financed the construction and equipping of a central lab for fish quality control and financed four open auction markets.
The coastal fishing project in the eastern governorates included the procurement of six mobile maintenance workshops, five cooling vehicles and fishing equipment.  As for the coastal fishing project in the western regions, the project aimed at enhancing the productivity of conventional fishing.  Project components included the procurement of 800 fiberglass-fishing boats, eight hundred powered boat engines, installation and operation of five ice plants of five tons capacity per factory.
The total investment in the fisheries sector financed through the Agriculture and Fisheries Production Promotion Fund reached 1.6 billion riyals during 1997-1999.  The investment covered the procurement of 820 fiberglass-fishing boats given out free of charge to fishermen, the establishment of 13 fish yards and the installation and operation of 10 ice factories of 10 tons capacity each.  It also covered the provision of low cost fishing equipment and fish marketing accessories, the sale of 33 fishing boats equipped with engines and ice storage through soft loans, the deepening of the Hodieda fishing basin, walling the port of Hodieda and the provision of an operations loan for the Shugra fish packaging factory in Abyan.
Fish Marketing
Commercial fishing boats fish in Yemen’s territorial waters and unload the fish, market it and re-export it through Yemeni ports.  Conventional fishing extends along Yemen’s coasts and islands and most of the fish is sold in open auction markets all over coastal towns.  The Public Corporation for Fish Services and Marketing and fisheries cooperatives run open markets (29 markets) where fishermen display their fish products for wholesale.  Such venues are also the main centers for marketing fresh fish.
The government has ensured the necessary services for fishermen in the different fish villages like ice, portable water, fuel and open fish markets.  The private sector plays an important role in the marketing of fish to meet the increasing demand of the population.  Private sectors run cooling vehicles transporting fish to market places all over the country.
Fish Exports and Fish Quality Control
Yemen’s territorial waters contain more than 350 different types of fish and marine life.  Yemen enjoys marine resources like Cephalopod and crustacea of high market value and reserve allowing the annual fishing of around 320,000 tons of fish and other marine life.  The Ministry of Fisheries coordinates the utilization of such stock through the development of both conventional and commercial fishing activities ensuring the coverage of local consumption and export.
The government has given local and foreign investors the opportunity to invest in commercial fishing projects.  There is also joint investment between private and mixed sector firms in addition to the existing conventional fishing.  Private and mixed sector companies have been working on commercial fishing in Yemen’s territorial waters and have contributed alongside conventional fishing in realizing a noticeable increase in the export of fish and other marine life.
The increase in fish exports has been accompanied by government efforts to modernize fish preparation, packaging and quality control labs ( like the Aden-based Central Laboratory, which operates according to international standards) in addition to inspection measures at export entry points (air, land and sea) before any shipment is exported.  Foreign markets for Yemeni fish include Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Portugal, Switzerland, China, Thailand and Hong Kong.
Future Prospects
As part of the government increasing attention to the protection of fisheries, a fisheries committee has been formed comprising the Ministries of Interior, Defense, Finance, Customs Authority and the Environmental Protection Council.  This committee oversees monitoring and marine inspection using modern communication equipment.  It assists in the control of illegal fishing and traces illegal fishing boats in Yemen’s territorial waters.
The Ministry of Fisheries is working on a comprehensive strategy for the sector outlining prospects for the optimization of the sector as a major income-generating sector in the national economy.  The Ministry seeks to issue a fishery guideline on the available fish and other marine life in Yemen’s territorial waters.  It also seeks to complete a statistical network on fisheries within the Ministry and further research activities.  The move will ensure the availability of up-to-date data on the fisheries sector including statistics on fish production, marketing, export, production regions, and the status of conventional and commercial fishing.  Other future prospects include the Ministry’s efforts to implement projects promoting traditional fishermen, fishing and fish quality improvement through providing the necessary services like electricity and water supply, expansion of marketing networks and feeder roads.