Somalia - Country Commercial Guide
Fisheries and Blue Economy
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The Somali government has recently proposed an ambitious plan to grow its “blue economy.”  The blue economy— referring to the economic activities in the ocean and coastal areas, including fisheries, aquaculture, tourism, shipping, and offshore oil and gas extraction—is seen as a significant future engine for Somali that will help drive economic prosperity.  With the longest coastline in continental Africa (bordering both the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean) at approximately 3,333 kilometers, a large Exclusive Economic Zone, and productive marine ecosystems, fisheries and the blue economy could play an essential role in the rebuilding and the stabilization of the country with suitable investment and support.  According to the newly renamed Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy, the country has about 1,000,000 square kilometers of maritime territory extending 200 nautical miles offshore, but the full economic potential of Somalia’s marine resources has not been exploited.  The African Union hails the blue economy as the “new frontier of African renaissance.”  

Potential investment areas include:

Fisheries: Major fish resources found in Somali waters range from large, highly migratory species (such as tuna) to smaller fish, crustaceans, and other reef species.  The country reportedly could harvest well over 200,000 metric tons of fish per year if it reached its sustainable potential.  However, data from the ministry show that in 2022, local fishers using artisanal vessels caught about 6,000 metric tons.  In contrast, industrial foreign vessels harvest an estimated 13,000 metric tons per year, and this figure may be significantly underreported.  Somalia seeks to grow its fisheries sector by providing training and equipment to fishermen, improving infrastructure, enforcing regulations to protect marine resources and attracting foreign investments to create jobs, improve the rural economy, and create sustainable export earnings.  The sector has seen tremendous progress in the last few years.  With the Somali Fisheries Law passed in 2014, the boundaries of an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) were proclaimed.  Moreover, an agreement was signed between Somali Federal Member States (FMSs) and the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) to manage and license fisheries.  As part of international maritime responsibility and global fisheries management, Somalia joined the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC).

The government has recently initiated programs to issue licenses to major fish companies that may harvest, process, and export.  In 2019 the Somali government, through the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (now called the Ministry of Fisheries and Blue Economy), granted 31 fishing licenses to the China Overseas Fishing Association as part of a program to improve sector regulation and generate tax revenues.  The program is relatively new and is expected to expand significantly, presenting opportunities for potential investors.  Existing local fish processing companies are interested in partnering with U.S. companies through co-investment, transfer of knowledge, and technology.

Opportunities exist in sourcing licensing for fishing, supplying of industrial vessels, and offering technical services such as quality and food safety certification.  The government has also developed a fisheries master plan which is expected to be adopted soon.  Other opportunities exist in the sector, particularly in areas of value chain development, investment in deep sea fishing, marine products cold storage, marine resource processing, boat building and repairs, marine skill development centers, marine equipment and supplies, investments in marine product packaging and, investments in fishing and aquaculture farming.

Tourism: Somalia has a beautiful coastline and a rich history and culture.  The sector remains underdeveloped, but a post-conflict Somalia could see exponential demand for investments in the hospitality sector.  The increasing return of Somali diaspora and increasing middle income population is expected to push the demand for quality hotels and restaurants.

Logistics and Shipping: Somalia has a strategic location on the Gulf of Aden.  It neighbors landlocked Ethiopia, potentially offering access to Ethiopia’s population of over 120 million people.  The country has the potential to become a shipping, logistics, and landing hub.  The country has five large ports that are currently operational.  Several international shipping lines—including MSC and Maersk—are already operating in the ports of Somalia.  The Somali government supports the development of the shipping sector by investing in port facilities through public-private partnerships, improving maritime laws and regulations, and promoting the country as a safe and reliable shipping destination.  As Somalia gears up to join the EAC, the demand for shipping services is expected to expand rapidly.

Offshore oil and gas extraction: Somalia has significant offshore oil and gas reserves. The sub-sector is discussed separately in the opportunities sector.

The Somali government, supported by its international partners including the United States, has improved maritime security in recent years.

Information Resources

Ministry of Fisheries and the Blue Economy

Radio Mogadishu Road, Wardhiigley, Mogadishu



Phone: +252617071111 , +252634033214


Somalia Investment Promotion Agency (SOMINVEST)