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Support to Fishermen on Coastal Abyan in their Quest for Self-Reliance

A man sailing on a boat

Dhaif Allah sails out safely on his daily fishing trips to earn income. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE

Dhaif Allah sails out safely on his daily fishing trips to earn income. Photo: Bassam Saleh/CARE

Home to more than 10,000 people, Shuqra area is one of the largest settlements of fishing communities in Abyan Governorate, southeastern Yemen, off the Gulf of Aden. The severe impact on the fisheries sector due to the 9-year conflict has increased the need for additional support for Yemeni fishermen.

Dhaif-Allah caught tuna fish from the depths of the sea. Photo credit: Bassam Saleh/CARE.

Dhaif-Allah Ali, a 39-year-old father, lives in the coastal city of Shuqra with his wife and three children. After graduating from university, it was difficult for him to find a job, so he started working as a fisherman. To earn a living, some fishermen venture out to sea with only the simplest and most basic resources available to them. They can explore waters that are rich in fish resources and yet, these very waters can be very dangerous in their quest to avoid starvation.

Yemen’s coastline, once a thriving expanse of more than 2,000 km, brimming with fishing grounds, supported thousands of livelihoods and bolstered the national economy. However, the war has plunged the nation into a humanitarian crisis, with over 17 million people reliant on food aid.

“Young people in Shuqra city suffer from unemployment. Like many residents, I resort to fishing,” states Dhaif. “We suffer from issues of overfishing in the sea and rapid climate change. Fishermen have to take longer trips, farther out, with inappropriate equipment to reach the fish and so we face the dangers of the sea.”

Dhaif-Allah repairs and maintains the boat's engine. Photo credit: Bassam Saleh/CARE

With funding from the European Union (EU), CARE initiated a project to improve food security levels in Shuqra District, Abyan in 2022, as part of comprehensive nutrition support to vulnerable, food-insecure communities in Abyan and Lahj Governorates. Through this project, CARE works to revitalize the fishing sector by training fishermen in the city of Shaqra on the best fishing practices. This includes maintaining the quality of fish at the catch stage, proper handling procedures on board, and maintenance of boat engines. Applying meticulous hygiene and cold storage procedures throughout the fishing process can ensure better fish quality and a better selling price. In addition, the project is training women in weaving fishing nets and handicrafts from palm leaves.

“The training helped us improve the quality of fish and to achieve profits. This project also provided us with much-needed fishing tools, such as fishing nets with accessories, a rope set, and a safety vest. In addition, we received $50 cash aid for three months,” says Dhaif-Allah.

Dhaif-Allah near the sunken boat that caused the death of three fishermen in the Shuqra area, Abyan Governorate. Photo credit: Bassam Saleh/CARE

“A few days ago, a fishing boat with three fishermen capsized. The boat sank due to the lack of security and safety equipment. If they had been provided with protective safety vests, they would have survived the drowning,” says Dhaif sadly.

Women’s participation is an important part of achieving sustainable development for the most vulnerable communities. With the increasing demand for craftsmen to weave fishing nets in the Shuqra area, training for women in net weaving has been contributing towards reducing the income gap women have experienced.

“After the training I received, the women and I became capable of weaving fishing nets, and this work improved our source of income. In addition to this the women make other products from palm leaves that they can sell in the market to improve their income,” says Sheikh Ali, one of the participants.


Sheikh and her colleague weave fishing nets. Photo credit: Bassam Saleh/CARE

“In the past, we were unable to sail long distances to have a profitable catch such as tuna, for fear that the fishing boat engine would break down. But in this season, I was able to go further into the sea to catch tuna because I am able to maintain the motor if it breaks down,” says Dhaif Allah.

Dhaif’s success story is an inspiration to other young people in his community. A brighter future requires investment to rebuild and strengthen the economy, and the fisheries sector must be part of the equation.

Dhaif-Allah increased his daily profits by selling his fish at the market. Photo credit: Bassam Saleh/CARE
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