Greenpeace calls on President Macky Sall to keep on freezing fishing licenses of foreign pelagic trawlers

Press release - May 17, 2013
Dakar, May 15, 2013: On the occasion of the official ceremony of “Peter Benchley Ocean Awards”, and particularly with the prize awarded to President Macky Sall for his decision to freeze fishing licenses to foreign trawlers, Greenpeace calls on him to uphold the suspension until scientific studies prove that fish stocks in Senegalese waters have been restored. In addition, we urge the President to reaffirm his declaration of intent on fisheries governance and management and to take initiatives at regional level.

The official ceremony of the sixth edition of “Peter Benchley Ocean Awards1” is being held today in Washington DC. Among the award winners is President Macky Sall for his commitment to the protection of fishery resources in Senegal.

It should be recalled that on April 2012 President Sall had cancelled 29 fishing authorizations granted illegally by the former regime to foreign vessels. The decision was welcomed in Senegal and beyond.

While receiving the award, in advance on March, Macky Sall told an American journalist that he might allow back the foreign trawlers2.

Stakeholders of fisheries and oceans protection are very concerned about that statement, which has given rise to uncertainty among millions of people who fought for the current international recognition of the President.

Stocks of marine resources in general and pelagic ones in particular are in a worrying situation in Senegal. It is more than necessary to refer to scientists’ opinions before making a decision on a possible return of foreign trawlers.

“The possibility that foreign pelagic vessels might be back so quickly seems to us quite premature, since it is not based on any economic, social argument, let alone the scientific argument” said Ahmed Diame, Greenpeace Africa Oceans Campaigner.

For decades, these resources have been systematically plundered by ships from Europe, Asia and Russia, exposing local communities to unemployment and poverty. The exploitation of these resources creates considerable jobs and is also an important source of protein for Senegalese and West African people.

“It would be pathetic if the President , based on a short term vision, jeopardizes the livelihoods and food security of millions of Senegal for a token sum that falls far short of solving the liquidity problems of the government3” added  Diamé.

On April 2012, President Macky Sall and his government raised many hopes among the Senegalese population and fisheries stakeholders, which has earned him a  recognition  and an award at international level.

“It would be regrettable to lose such a momentum so early, since Senegal must set an example for the sub-region”, said Ahmed Diame.

Greenpeace urges President Macky Sall to retract his statement issued in Washington and take the fight for sustainable management of marine resources to the regional level.

Notes to Editors:

(1)http://www.bluefront.org/wordpress/?p=4205&utm_source=Blue+Frontier&utm_campaign=0e6d31d381-Blue_Notes_107_jan2013&utm_medium=email

(2)http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/04/senegals-leader-urged-to-save-sardinella/

(3)http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/fr/Actualities/Blogs-de-Greenpeace-Afrique/plus-jamais-a/blog/42525/

Contacts:

Ahmed DIAME, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace Africa,

+ 221 77 3328993,

 Bakary Coulibaly, OceansCommunications Officer, Greenpeace Africa.

+221 77 3336265,