Maritime piracy is not a new or unique problem in the sea area of Somalia. It has native structural causes that are part of each region and partly common to all piracy. The current characteristics of piracy go back to the early 90's but were soon manifested in other ways. One of the structural factors that explains and has a long history in the general history ofpiracy is related to the loss of fishery resources that the economy depends upon and that supplies food for coastal communities. The causes for this on the marine ecosystem of the Horn of Africa are not limited to overexploitation of marine species but also include toxic waste discharges of all kinds, including nuclear waste.
The objective fact that Somali fishermen can fish less and less,decisively affect the already fragile Somali economy and it explains, in part, the root of piracy problem in the area and its use by groups of pirates in Somalia as a convincing argument to justify their actions. Since the collapse of the Barre regime in 1991, piracy developed where the pirates called themselves “coast guards”. They had vessels which were fishing illegally and discharging toxicsubstances in coastal waters, as their main target. As the management of maritime affairs can be a very lucrative business from the outset, local administrations in Somalia or faction leaders granted licensing agreements for countries, companies or foreign fishing vessels. To monitor the concessions, local authorities resorted to armed militias to put out to sea in search of foreign vessels. Protectingwhat the fishing communities understand as their own property.
This whole scenario that generates suspicion and aggressive behaviour within the Somali fishing communities against foreign fishing fleets is extended by the sea clashes between Somali traditional fishing and foreign vessels. Having in mind all these events, it is not surprising that some of the major Somali pirate groups haveadopted names such as National Volunteer Coast Guard or Coast Guard of Somalia, the former name of the famous Somali marines. They call themselves "guard" instead of pirates to justify to the world, although it is true that some of them have previously served the State. Regardless of the speeches for advertising purposes practised by pirates, it is a fact that overfishing in the waters of Somalia is oneof the factors that have triggered the piracy problem in the area.
In the following text, the causes and consequences of piracy in Somalia will be examined more deeply, as will all the other aspects adding to the problem, such as the environment existing in Puntland and the historical and global context.
2. Main Part: Somali Pirates
2.1 Historical and Global Context
To understand theongoings in the Somali region of Puntland and how piracy evolved in this area, it is essential to first take a look at the history of the area. What is today Somalia used to be under British, French and Italian rule in the 19th and 20th century. The colonists were indifferent to the clan system existing in the region, therefore, when Somalia became independent in 1960, it was a state consisting ofdifferent clans. Some of the clans' territories were divided by national borders with Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya. This has added to the instability of the country. Between 1969 and 1991 the country was relatively stable under the socialist rule of President Siad Barres. After his rule, Somalia became a lawless country. Since then, there has been serious fighting between rival warlords fromdifferent clans and the Somali government has been in exile in Kenya incapable of acting. In 2006 there was a rise of Islamic forces who fought against the warlords. The vast majority of Somalis are non-violent and opposed to ideological extremism. They wish for a government that reflects the Islamic faith including tolerance, moderation and respect for variation in religious observance. However, the...