Greenpeace protests against EU subsidised plunder of West African Waters

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Feature story - March 2, 2012
Today, activists from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise protested against European overfishing in Mauritanian waters. The activists attached symbolic giant Euro bank notes and a banner saying “Stop EU Subsidised Plunder” on the hull of the European PFA super trawler ‘Maartje Theadora’. The money represents the financial support from unknowing, European tax payer’s pockets to the destructive fishing practices of the European fleets. 90 per cent of the cost for fishing rights to these huge trawlers that plunder West African waters is financed by EU tax money.

Action Against Maartje Theadora

Activists from the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise hold a banner in French reading: “Stop EU Subsidised Plunder” to protest against European overfishing in Mauritanian waters. The activists attach symbolic Euro bank notes and a banner reading “Stop EU Subsidised Plunder” on the hull of the European PFA super trawler ‘Maartje Theadora’. The money represents the financial support from unknowing, European tax payer’s pockets to the destructive fishing practices of the European fleets. 90 % of the cost for fishing rights to these huge trawlers that plunder West African waters is financed by EU tax money. Greenpeace is campaigning in West Africa for the establishment of a sustainable, low impact fisheries policy that takes into account the needs and interests of small-scale fishermen and the local communities that depend on healthy oceans. © Greenpeace / Pierre Gleizes

 

“This 140 metres German fishing giant is just one example of the highly industrialised EU and Russian fleet that operate in West African waters with severe impacts on fish stocks, food security and the livelihoods of local people. It really illustrates the failure of the European Common Fishing Policy and how millions of EU-subsidies is going directly into the improvement of huge trawlers enabling them to fish far more than the ecosystem can cope with”, says Greenpeace Africa Oceans Campaigner Raoul Monsembula.

The capacity of these super trawlers is huge, with nets up to 600 metres long and a take up to 250 tons of fish per day, while local fishermen see their catches decrease. These vessels have a disastrous impact with their ability to make massive catches in an area with already declining fish stocks. The West African fish stocks are fully or overfished, endangering the livelihoods of local communities.

Today’s action follows on similar actions last week targeting Russian and Lituanian vessels off the coast of Senegal. In particular, Greenpeace caught Russian trawler “Oleg Naydenov” red handed, fishing illegally in a forbidden area at the border between Senegal and Gambia. Greenpeace calls on the authorities of these countries to take immediate action against this ship and its owners and rid their waters off the destructive and predatory fleet of giant trawlers.