Fishing is No Longer a Safe Job in Yemen

Sheba Intelligence | 2024-05-05 12:05 PM UTC


 Eritrean authorities released 17 Yemeni fishermen after weeks of being detained in Eritrean prisons, local sources in Al-Hudydah said Saturday.

The released fishermen arrived in The coastal area of Al-Khawkhah, where their families and friends gathered to receive them. The fishermen said they were imprisoned in deplorable detention conditions, and they were subjected to serious violations by the Eritrean authorities.

On March 9, 2024,  11 fishermen arrived in the city of Mocha after a month-long detention by Eritrean forces. The fishermen said that their boats were confiscated and that they were subjected to hard labor in Eritrean prisons. Their release came after close follow-up by Yemen's Presidential Leadership Council and the Yemeni diplomats in Eritrea.

Since 2015, Yemeni fishermen on the West Coast have faced repeated violations by the Eritrean authorities amid the continued war Yemen has been experiencing.

According to human rights reports, Yemeni fishermen have been subjected to killing, enforced disappearance, arbitrary detention under inhumane imprisonment conditions, torture, and cruel and abusive treatment, including beating, hard labor, and deprivation of food and water.

Local reports showed that the Eritrean Navy has carried out more than 7,000 kidnapping crimes against Yemeni fishermen in the Red Sea since 2015.

UN report says the fisheries sector in Yemen supplies work opportunities for more than half a million persons, who provide for 1.7 million and make up 18% of the coastal population of 9.4 million. According to the report, fishing is a major source of income, a critical sector for job creation, and a vital tributary of the economy.

Since November last year, Yemen fishermen have been facing a severe new challenge, namely the military escalations in the Red Sea. 

About 60 percent of fishermen in Yemen's Al-Hudaydah province lost their sources of livelihood due to the Red Sea tensions, a government source said in February this year.


 The Yemeni government director of the Information Office in Al-Hudaydah, Ali Al-Ahdal, said in a statement that about 300,000 people in the province work in the fishing sector, of whom 60 percent have lost their jobs after the Houthi attacks on shipping lanes in the Red Sea. 


The military operations off the coast of Al-Hudaydah have killed  71 fishermen and wounded over 100 others since 2018, according to Al-Ahdal. As the conflicting parties in Yemen continue to prepare for more wars, the fishermen will continue to be vulnerable to more troubles, including sea mines, Eritrean pirates and naval attacks.

The number of Yemeni fishermen who have been released since last year from Eritrean prisons can be presented in the following table.



Number of released fishermen

May 2023


June 2023


July 2023


August 2023


September 2023


October 2023


November 2023


January 2024


March 2024


May 2024