It was the second wave which finally capsized the small boat, throwing the fishermen onto the beach. Chaos followed, I heard screams, and saw women watching the men as they tried to get the ten-meter long wooden boat back under control. Finally they succeeded, pulling the boat onto the beach. No one is injured but the catch is lost. Again these fishermen from Dakar will return home empty-handed.
Tunas in Dakar
Skipjack and Yellowfin tuna, having being caught in West African seas by the Spanish purse seiner 'Iribar Zulaika', are loaded for export.
This time they lost their catch -- but often there is no catch to begin with. But it's not the waves that keep them from making a catch, it's the EU fishing fleets. Since European waters have become overfished, massive European fishing vessels have moved into West African waters to continue their fishing. For local fishermen in Senegal, Cape Verde and Mauritania, these fleets are having a severe impact on the fisheries, making it very difficult for them to feed their families.
Greenpeace Africa wants to change that.
Nine representatives from fishing communities in West Africa will travel to Europe, together with Raoul Monsembula, Oumy Sene, and Prudence Wanko, from Greenpeace Africa. They've arranged meetings with European politicians and they hope to change the EU policy on fishing in African seas.
Their timing is good. This year leaders in Brussels are working on a new European Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), and there is a real chance that through this project we can get more protection for the African oceans.
I work for Greenpeace in Germany but I'll be joining my colleagues to take part in this African Voices tour. Together with the fishermen we take with us to Europe, we will tell the story of the fishermen in West Africa -- not only to European leaders but to the citizens of the EU aswell. The more people that know of this injustice, the more likely it is that we can end it.