Dakar, Senegal, 23 April 2020. The Senegalese Ministry of Fisheries and Maritime Economy has approached the consultative committee for fishing licences attribution (CCAL) to issue 54 licenses to vessels of Chinese and Turkish origin, , some of which implicated in IUU fishing denounced by Greenpeace.
“As we wait for the devastating social and economic consequences of COVID-19 to unfold, Senegal and other West African countries must reserve their fish stocks for the livelihood of their people. Any authorization to new fishing vessels would drain the ocean and could drown millions in rising levels of food insecurity,” says Dr. Ibrahima Cissé, Senior Ocean Campaign Manager at Greenpeace Africa. “Fish prices are soaring as stocks are near a point of no-return. As we fight a global pandemic, we should pause to rewrite the rules of our economy and our relations with nature,” Dr. Cissé added.
The license application process is adding pressure to fishermen, female fish processors and an entire artisanal economy that is already struggling to compete with large-scale fishing and fishmeal companies, whose vessels have doubled their operations in Senegal’s waters since 2012. Furthermore, in the last weeks communities have been facing even more difficulties, with restrictions on access to marine areas imposed by the COVID-19 lock-down.
“Mismanagement, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, and an expanding fishmeal and fish oil industry are leading to poverty, clandestine migration, and fishermen disappearing at sea. While Senegal’s government negotiates for its fishermen to work in neighbouring countries, there is no sense in granting new licences to foreign vessels to compete over the same dwindling resources. Minister of Fisheries, Mr. Alioune Ndoye, must respect the science and Senegal’s own commitments to give the ocean and its coastal communities a chance to recover,” Dr. Cissé concluded.
Since 15 years, Greenpeace Africa is campaigning with unions and other NGOs to put an end to the decades of overexploitation of West African fish stocks and inadequate policies. Last year, Greenpeace Africa launched a campaign to stop environmentally, economically and socially unsustainable fishmeal and fish oil factory expansion in Senegal, the Gambia and Mauritania.