Many Somali pirates used to be fishermen who had their waters overfished and contaminated by foreigners.
Ever since the civil war that brought down Somali’s last functional government in 1991, the Somali waters have become the equivalent of a public pool. They are open to fishing fleets from around the world to illegally take the fishermen’s stocks and occasionally use as a dump.
According to a UN report, an estimated $300 million worth of seafood is stolen from the country’s coastline each year. Naturally, when people can’t trust the law anymore, they take matters into their own hands. Impoverished Somalis living by the sea have been forced to defend their waters out of ports such as Eyl, Kismayo, and Haradhere.
All of these ports are considered pirate dens, and all the people just trying to make ends meet are considered deadly, lawless vermin.