New Fishing Licenses Intensify Marine Plunder

Feature story - March 24, 2011
We urge the Senegalese government to reconsider the 22 licences it has issued to Russian trawlers -- for the sake of the fisheries and the Senegalese people.

01 March 2010 Tuna Loaded in Dakar

Here Skipjack and Yellowfin tuna, from the Spanish purse seiner 'Iribar Zulaika', are loaded for exported. New Senegalese government decisions will put even more strain on Senegalese fish stocks -- bad news for the fisheries and the regions's people.

The new licenses will speed up the plunder and pillaging of the once rich West African fishing grounds. We witnessed this exploitation during a tour in Senegalese and Mauritanian waters in 2010, and have published our findings in a report ‘How Africa feeds Europe’.

The situation of the world fish stocks is tragic.

According to the latest World Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) report, 32% of commercially used fish stocks are over-exploited, depleted or recovering, more than half of the balance is fully exploited, while only 15% is underexploited or moderately exploited.

It is the same situation in Senegalese waters. The Senegalese National Institute for Fisheries Research (CRODT) has already warned that the fishing of small pelagic fish must be halved to avoid an ecological crisis. Despite this warning, the government has just issued 20 licenses for these specific fish stocks.

'If the government takes its responsibility towards the Senegalese population seriously, it needs to secure long-term sustainable fisheries in its waters', says Raoul Monsembula, Greenpeace Africa ocean campaigner.

'The species involved are staple foodstuffs for ordinary Senegalese. Overfishing means their plates go empty, it’s that simple.” he added.

Sustainable fishing will not only lead to healthy fish stocks, but will provide livelihoods for millions of Senegalese.

Greenpeace Africa urges the Senegalese government to reconsider its decision, listen to science, and stop the plunder.