Greenpeace Africa is calling on West African governments to strengthen surveillance of the region’s oceans and protect fisheries against all forms of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
After the suspicious presence of a factory trawler in Senegalese waters was exposed, the vessel, which is registered in Russia and owned by a Namibian company on behalf of the Icelandic company Samherji, continued its operations in Guinea-Bissau and Mauritanian waters. Greenpeace Africa observed that the vessel’s presence anywhere in the region’s waters represents a threat to all these countries, which share the same fish stocks.
Illegal fishing undermines the regional economy and costs states billions of dollars in lost revenue. Greenpeace Africa has restated its longstanding demand that governments cooperate to stop all measures that would prevent the depletion of fish stocks, the degradation of marine habitats and the destruction of an entire ecosystem that is vital for the region’s economy and food sovereignty of IUU fishing. A vital step towards this would be greater transparency in the fisheries sector, the reduction of fishing overcapacity and the strengthening of the surveillance of the seas. The implementation of this good governance
“Today, most fish stocks in the region are overexploited. The presence of foreign vessels makes this worse and threatens people’s livelihoods and their access to food. Fishermen are becoming increasingly indebted and socially vulnerable because of these industrial competitors. States would gain more if they invested in the sustainable management of our seas rather than selling them off to foreign industrial vessels,” says Dr Aliou Ba, Greenpeace Africa’s Oceans Campaigner.
“The fisheries sector is so strategically important to West Africa. We should be doing everything we can so there is effective surveillance of the West African coastline. That way, fisheries can continue protecting our food security and socio-economic stability. It deserves so much more attention from the authorities. Its sustainable and transparent management must be at the heart of the public policies of West African states,” Dr Ba continued.
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