A United Nations report and several news sources have suggested that piracy off the coast of Somalia is caused in part by illegal fishing. According to the DIW and the U.S. House Armed Services Committee, the dumping of toxic waste in Somali waters by foreign vessels has also severely constrained the ability of local fishermen to earn a living and forced many to turn to piracy instead. 70 percent of the local coastal communities "strongly support the piracy as a form of national defense of the country's territorial waters", and the pirates believe they are protecting their fishing grounds and exacting justice and compensation for the marine resources stolen.Some reports have suggested that, in the absence of an effective national coast guard following the outbreak of the civil war and the subsequent disintegration of the Armed Forces, local fishermen formed organized groups in order to protect their waters. This motivation is reflected in the names taken on by some of the pirate networks, such as the National Volunteer Coast Guard. However, as piracy has become substantially more lucrative in recent years, other reports have speculated that financial gain is now the primary motive for the pirates. Combined Task Force 150, a multinational coalition task force, took on the role of fighting Somali piracy by establishing a Maritime Security Patrol Area (MSPA) within the Gulf of Aden. The increasing threat posed by piracy has also caused concern in India since most of its shipping trade routes pass through the Gulf of Aden. The Indian Navy responded to these concerns by deploying a warship in the region on 23 October 2008.
In September 2008, Russia announced that it too would join international efforts to combat piracy. Some reports have also accused certain government officials in Somalia of complicity with the pirates, with authorities from the Galmudug administration in the north-central Hobyo district reportedly attempting to use pirate gangs as a bulwark against Islamist insurgents from the nation's southern conflict zones. However, according to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, both the former and current administrations of the autonomous Puntland region in northeastern Somalia appear to be more actively involved in combating piracy. The latter measures include on-land raids on pirate hideouts, and the construction of a new naval base in conjunction with Saracen International, a UK-based security company. By the first half of 2010, these increased policing efforts by Somali government authorities on land and international naval vessels at sea reportedly contributed to a drop in pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden from 86 a year prior to 33, forcing pirates to shift attention to other areas such as the Somali Basin and the wider Indian Ocean.By the end of 2011, pirates managed to seize only four ships off of the coast of Somalia; 18 fewer than the 26 they had captured in each of the two previous years. They also attempted unsuccessful attacks on 52 other vessels, 16 fewer than the year prior.As of 17 April 2012, the pirates were holding around 8 large ships with an estimated 227 hostages.
According to another source, there were 151 attacks on ships in 2011, compared to 127 in 2010 - but only 25 successful hijacks compared to 47 in 2010. 10 vessels and 159 hostages were being held at February 2012. In 2011, pirates earned $146m, an average of $4.87m per ship. An estimated 3,000 to 5,000 pirates operated; by February 2012 1,000 have been captured and were going through legal processes in 21 countries. According to the European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR), intensified naval operations had by February 2012 led to a further drop in successful pirate attacks in the Indian Ocean, with the pirates' movements in the region at large also significantly constrained. 25 military vessels from the EU and Nato countries, the USA, China, Russia, India and Japan patrolled approximately 8.3m km2 (3.2m sq miles) of ocean, an area about the size of Western Europe. Pirates