Greenpeace exposes another foreign trawler in Senegalese waters

Press release - February 20, 2012
Dakar, 20th February, 2012 - Today Greenpeace protested against foreign overfishing in Senegalese waters. Activists from Europe and Africa confronted a Lithuanian-flagged super pelagic trawler, the “Irivinga” and unveiled a banner reading “Stop fishing away Africa’s future”.

“Irivinga” a 120 metre long fishing vessel is a clear example of unsustainable fishing practices by foreign super trawlers in the region. Foreign fleets are plundering the West African waters, while local fishermen see their catches decrease. Most recent studies show declining stocks for several species in Senegalese waters. Most commercial fish stocks, like Sardinella, mackerels and horse mackerels are overfished.

About 20 vessels with Russian, Lithuanian flags, and various flags of convenience, have benefitted from special authorisations to fish pelagic stocks in the Senegalese sea.

One out of six Senegalese work in the fishing sector. When overfishing by foreign fleets continues like this, there soon will be no fish left for the locals”, says Greenpeace oceans campaigner Raoul Monsembula.   

The capacity of these super trawlers is huge, with length beyond 100 metres, trawls several hundred meters long with opening up to 50 meters. They can catch up to 250 tonnes of fish in a single day, which would be enough to feed 9,000 Senegalese people for a full year.

“These vessels are competing unfairly with artisanal fishermen for scarce and declining resources. The foreign fleet is emptying the sea, adds Monsembula.

In full agreement with representatives of artisanal fishermen in Senegal and in coherence with scientist recommendations, Greenpeace calls for an immediate suspension of protocols authorising foreign pelagic trawlers to operate in the Senegalese Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

“Greenpeace demands that a moratorium be adopted on any new fishing authorisation to such vessels, until a sustainable fisheries policy is implemented, inclusive of all stakeholders and taking into account renowned scientists’ recommendations” concludes Monsembula.

Contacts:

  • Ahmed Diamé,  Communications on land, , +221 773328993
  • Raoul Monsembula, Oceans Campaigner, Greenpeace Africa,   +221 773328994
  • Melanie Aldrin, Communications on board,

Pictures available, please contact Ahmed Diamé