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In Yemen, fishery is an important source of income and food for coastal populations. Yet, this economic sector has suffered severely from the ongoing armed conflict and the deteriorating economic situation in the country. Many facilities have been damaged and the boats and fishing equipment of Yemeni fishermen have been destroyed. Over the course of time, many fishermen have lost their livelihoods or even their lives as they got caught in the crossfire or fell victim to mines or airstrikes. Others have been internally displaced in search for a safe place for them and their families. Moreover, coastal communities are facing a multitude of challenges: Rising prices for fishing gear and fuel are aggravating their vulnerable situation, while restrictions imposed by security forces and the risks of mines and violent confrontations prevent fishermen from accessing crucial fishing zones and the seasonality of fishing causes many families to lose their source of food and income during the off season.
In cooperation with the NRC, the EU is supporting these conflict-affected coastal communities by providing fishing gear and safety equipment to the fishermen. Further, the NRC organises trainings on the maintenance of engines, the use of modern navigation technology and raising awareness of safety issues. The project also supports coastal communities by rehabilitating essential facilities such as fish landing sites, where fishermen arrive from sea and sell their catch. A central fish laboratory was equally rehabilitated as part of the project. With its mandate to test the quality and safety of fish products on the request of traders and fishermen, the laboratory contributes to the improvement quality standards and enables the fishermen to meet the requirements for exporting their catch. Likewise, the project has rehabilitated the fish market of Al Hawtta Lahj in Southern Yemen, which has become an important hub for the local communities in the area.
By these means, the livelihoods recovery project has already contributed to an increased demand for fish, and created better marketing opportunities for fishermen and more local employment opportunities. But beyond supporting the fisheries sector, the project is also working with coastal communities to diversify their means of income generation. A group of women, for example, receives business development trainings to diversify their livelihood options. For all activities, the project team cooperates closely with the local community committee to ensure the fair distribution of equipment and participation in the project's activities. With this project, the EU once more emphasizes that it stands with the people of Yemen and works relentlessly to alleviate their suffering. Committed to ensuring a life in dignity for all Yemenis, the EU will continue to work with local communities and vulnerable parts of society.