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Artisanal Fisheries: Getting Zainab back in business

Zainab Ahmed Shire is a 42-year-old mother who lives in the village of Maydh with her 12 children. Zainab catches fish using a small boat to support her family's livelihood.

Zainab explained that she started fishing 13 months ago when she bought a small boat for $3,000 and hired a skilled fisherman with experience to help her. However, after 8 months, the boat's motor broke down and stopped working. Zainab was unable to afford the repair costs, so she beached the boat by the sea and stopped fishing for about 5 months. Naturally this all had a negative impact on her family's economic situation.

Fortunately, The Strengthening Artisanal Fisheries in Sanag Region Project funded by the Somaliland Development Fund (SDF) provided Zainab with a new outboard motor to help get her back to fishing once more. She was also provided with fish catching equipment, training in fishing techniques, and was encouraged to join the local fish cooperative established by the Ministry of Fisheries and Rural Development (MoLRD). She was then able to quickly resume fishing with the help of her son, who had been trained to pilot the fishing boat and operate the new equipment.


The livelihoods of many fishermen in Maydh depend on catching fish from the sea for both selling and providing their families with food. The SDF-funded Artisanal Fisheries Project provided 30 outboard motors to fishermen in Maydh and Hiis, fishing equipment, capacity building, cold storage, and ice-making machines. It also built a fish market in Erigavo to strengthen the fisheries value chain in Sanag region. With the new equipment and capacity building provided by SDF, fishermen like Zainab are expecting to increase their daily production and improve their income generation.

Zainab believes that with the new equipment, their daily production will increase significantly. Previously, they used to catch between 100kgs and 150kgs of fish per day, but now they expect to double that amount to between 200kgs and 350kgs. This increase in production will greatly improve their income from fisheries and make it a more sustainable way of earning a living. 

Zainab also explained the fish processing system she uses “When the fish is brought from the sea, I divide it into three parts. A third we use as food for her family, a third is cooked and sold to as food, and the remaining part is sold raw to the residents of Erigavo.

Ahmed Abdi, a 28-year-old fisherman, shared his story as well. He had been waiting to get his fishing boat properly into service but had been unable to buy an engine despite saving up money for 2 years. However, he was given a new outboard motor worth $2500 by SDF, which immediately improved his production.