FairFishing is a Danish-Somali NGO, working to create better lives on the Horn of Africa through fresh fish. By strengthening the local fishery, we are working to reduce poverty and help create local employment and income opportunities.

Our Board consists of hands-on practioners from the private sector, international development specialists, the marine and somali diaspora. Our daily activities are handled by a Copenhagen-based secretariat, and two local management teams in Berbera and Bosaso. Currently, we employ around 40 people locally. We value a strong local ownership – with the partners of the facilities involved in the operations.

The timeline below outlines how we got here.

The FairFishing timeline

  • 2009


    It started with an idea

    Journalist Jakob Johannsen, married to a Somali woman, contacts Claus Bindslev with a proposition to “turn Somali pirates into fishermen”. They then contact international development journalist Knud Vilby. Together they agree to start a fishing project in Somalia.

  • 2011


    The organisation is born

    Rear admiral Nils Wang, Mahad Aden, internal auditor at Danish National Bank, skipper and fishery expert Kurt Bertelsen Christensen and Somali diaspora Said Hussain joins the team.

    In October 2011, the first board is established, consisting of Jakob, Claus, Knud, Mahad and Said. Christian Balslev-Olesen joins later.

  • 2012


    First fact finding mission

    American Arsenault Family Foundation makes the first donation of USD 20.000 for a fact-finding mission in Somaliland. Purpose: Is fishery even possible – if so, how?

    Mission results: There is no fishery infrastructure at all in Somaliland – everything has to be built from scratch. It is decided to not choose one local partner, but to be inclusive and welcome anyone interested to cooperate.

    Founding father Jakob Johannsen passes away from cancer, and his children are given the LIVIA prize on his behalf.

    Two new members of the board: Nils Wang and ship owner Per Gullestrup – whose own experience of having a ship highjacked by pirates was the basis of the movie ‘The Hijacking’.

    Per Gullestrup donates 50.000 USD for a Proof of Concept phase: Demonstrating that one tonne of fish can be caught, processed and sold every day for an entire month. It is a success.

  • 2013


    A fishery station in Berbera takes form

    A processing facility is developed; using five 40-foot reefer containers donated Mærsk Line as the source of infrastructure. An ice machine is purchased.

    FairFishing receives an increasing amount of both in-kind and economic donations.

    In October the station opens for business and has 20 employees the first year

    It is a local NGO, non-profit, where income from sales of ice and services at the station pays for local wages and running costs.

  • 2014


    Still a long way to go

    FairFishing is getting more attention in danish media and among local ministries and authorities, but still no public funds.

    At a (very) critical point, A.P. Møllerske Støttefond donates USD 500.000, so the station that is now running can be supported and developed to secure financial sustainability and organisation for the future.

    Elsebeth Krogh, Danish Institute for Human Rights, joins the board.

  • 2015


    First documented impact

    The Partner Supply Unit (PSU) is established: A shop selling affordable fishing gear to the fishers

    Nordic Consulting Group conduct an Impact Assessment (funded by MAERSK) and present the first results: increased income, more jobs and social improvements.

  • 2016


    New chapter: Expansion of the FairFishing concept with EU funds

    EU rewards FairFishing with a direct grant to expand and develop the concept to several locations in the Horn of Africa the coming three years. The aim is to create income, livelihood and nutrition to populations in the Horn of Africa through development of the small-scale fishery.

    The organisation grows due to the new EU program, with extended program management in Copenhagen and two local management teams in Berbera and Bosaso. Toyah Hunting joins the board.

  • 2017


    Work, work, work...

    The year is spent with feasibility studies, developing business plans, negotiations with stakeholders and construction of fish facilities.

  • 2018


    New results and new partnerships

    New FairFishing facilities are opening in several locations: Fish stations in Saylac, Buluhar, Laasqorey and Garacaad, fish markets in Burco, Galkayo and Qardho, and a boat and engine workshop in Berbera.

    Training programs are executed: Fishery techical training at sea, facility training in new facilities, business managment and fish marketing.

    A new partnership is entered with Trafigura Foundation, aiming to create better living through fresh fish. Focus on strengthening the whole fish value chain in order to develop a sustainable chain from sea to consumer.

    Nordic Consulting Group presents findings from a new impact assessment in Berbera: Increased income, more jobs, business opportunities for women and changing status of fishing in society.

  • 2019


    A new chapter: Fresh Fish

    FairFishing is currently focusing on further developing the fresh fish value chain in the Horn of Africa – from sea to table. Stay tuned for more information – or follow along on our Facebook page for weekly updates from Somaliland and Puntland!